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PhD Scholarship in landslide-fault interactions at the University of Canterbury and GNS Science

University of Canterbury
University of Canterbury and GNS Science, New Zealand
Closing date
Jul 3, 2019

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Natural Hazards, Tectonophysics
Career Level
Student / Graduate
Education Level
Relocation Cost
No Relocation
Sector Type
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PhD candidate

Fault damage zone controls on coseismic landslides

Research Goal: To investigate the role of fault structure, coseismic strain, and fault damage zone properties on the initiation of slope failures.

Overview: Forecasts of coseismic landslide hazard are inhibited, in part, by a lack of resolution in outcrop- to regional-scale rock strength variability. Whereas lithologic differences are relatively straightforward to map and parameterise, the rock mass properties of fault damage zones are more challenging, and their characterisation represents a key opportunity to improve existing landslide hazard models. This PhD research aims to integrate structural geology, remote sensing, geomechanics, and geophysics to characterise fault damage zones and landslides in the northeastern Southern Alps of New Zealand. The successful candidate will work with fault and landslide datasets from the 2016 MW 7.8 Kaikōura, New Zealand earthquake, as well as collect new field data to address the objectives below.


(1) Characterise how metre- to kilometre-scale tectonic strains contributed to slope failure during the 2016 Kaikōura, New Zealand earthquake, using a combination of remote sensing and field data

(2) Quantify the extent and physical properties of fault damage zones in areas of high landslide density, using shallow geophysics and laboratory testing

(3) Determine whether parameters related to (1) and (2) above control paleo-landslide distributions along active faults, using quantitative geomorphology

Application Details:  The successful candidate will have a MSc in Geology, Engineering Geology, or a related field; or BSc Hons. with relevant research or work experience. We can offer the successful candidate a fully-funded PhD scholarship, including University fees and living allowance. The candidate, if successful, would be enrolled at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and work in close collaboration with GNS Science. The candidate would be expected to spend time in both Wellington and Christchurch, two of New Zealand’s more interesting cities.

If interested, please send your CV before the 15 July 2019.

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