PhD position on Unravelling magnetic behaviour of igneous rocks by Micromagnetic Tomography (1.0 FTE, 4 years)
The Department of Earth Sciences at Utrecht University currently seeks a highly-motivated, high-potential applicant for a PhD position to work within the research project "Unravelling magnetic behaviour of igneous rocks by Micromagnetic Tomography" funded by NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) that was awarded to Dr. Lennart de Groot at the paleomagnetic laboratory Fort Hoofddijk.
Magnetizations stored in volcanic rocks are our only source of information on the past behaviour of the Earth's magnetic field. Therefore, unlocking the information in these natural archives is paramount to improve our understanding of rapid geomagnetic variations. A small portion of grains in volcanic rocks become magnetized when cooling in the Earth's magnetic field, but they violate standard (Néel) theory on the acquisition and storage of magnetizations because of their size. The aim of this PhD project is to further develop a novel technique, Micro-Magnetic Tomography (MMT), to determine the magnetizations of individual particles in a non-magnetic matrix (i.e. a volcanic rock), with the ultimate goal to acquire paleomagnetic information by only considering signals from grains with known good magnetic properties and reject the contributions of ill-behaved grains. The proof-of-concept of this new technique was recently put forward by the research team offering this PhD position. To establish MMT as a rock-magnetic tool we will use a Quantum Diamond Microscope that will be installed in paleomagnetic laboratory Fort Hoofddijk to produce magnetic surface scans of sample material. These measurements will be combined with high-resolution MicroCT scans to characterize and identify the magnetic grains of interest. Optimizations of the mathematic inversion routine will advance the accuracy and efficiency of the inversion that yields the individual magnetizations per grain.
The research team is highly interdisciplinary and includes Project Leader Dr. Lennart de Groot (supervisor), Dr. Mark Dekkers (advisor), Bertwin de Groot (technician) and Prof. dr. Wout Krijgsman (promotor) at the Department of Earth Sciences, Utrecht University; Dr. Karl Fabian (advisor) at the Norwegian Geological Survey in Trondheim; Dr. Tristan van Leeuwen (advisor) at the Department of Mathematics, Utrecht University; and Dr. Roger Fu (advisor) at Harvard University. The research will be performed at Utrecht University.
Up to 10% of the candidate's time will be dedicated to assisting in the BSc and MSc teaching programmes of the Earth Sciences Department. A personalized training programme will be set up, mutually agreed on recruitment, which will reflect the candidate's training needs and career objectives.
The successful candidate should be ambitious and have obtained an MSc degree (or equivalent) in Earth Sciences, Physics, Mathematics, or Chemistry by the start of the appointment. A strong background in Mathematics is essential. Experience with one or more of the following topics would be an advantage: analytical (laboratory) skills, rock-magnetism, scanning magnetometry, inverse theory, solid-state physics, micro-scale modelling of natural systems, and/or programming. A broad interest in geosciences, and the willingness and capacity to interact in a multidisciplinary team, are essential. The candidate should be fluent in both spoken and written English, since the host group is international in composition.
The successful candidate will be offered a full-time PhD position, initially for one year. Depending on a satisfactory performance this may be extended to a maximum period of four years, resulting in a doctorate within this period.
Employment conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement of the Dutch Universities. The gross monthly salary starts at €2,325 in the first year and increases to €2,972 in the fourth year. The salary is supplemented by a holiday allowance of 8% of annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3% of annual salary per year. We offer a pension scheme, (partly paid) parental leave, collective insurance schemes and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model).
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