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Human-triggered earthquakes: a hybrid laboratory-computational study

As the world’s energy needs grow, geothermal and fossil fuel industries are inadvertently triggering earthquakes in every increasing amounts. The phenomenon of injection-induced seismicity is a double-edged sword: where the earthquakes are large, they pose a risk to public safety. But if the events are limited to a small magnitude, they provide invaluable information about conditions underground. This project will integrate cutting-edge core experiments – a miniaturized version of induced seismicity – performed at the German Research Centre for Geosciences, with the latest advances in numerical models of the earthquake process. The aim is to develop field protocols for injection that trade-off information gain against robust avoidance of dangerous outcomes.

This fully-funded PhD scholarship in induced seismicity involves a mixture of experimental and numerical modelling work. It does not require any prior knowledge of the Earth Sciences, but a background in continuum mechanics would be useful. 

You will be required to make several visits of up to three months each to perform experiments on-site at the German Research Centre for Geosciences in the outskirts of Berlin.

Please contact Dr David Dempsey by the end of June for more information.