This is a fully-funded 3.5 year PhD studentship for UK or EU candidates. The award will pay all tuition fees and a tax-free stipend at the UK Research Council rate (currently £13,590). Start date is flexible; suggested April-September 2014. Deadline for applications: 6th February 2014.
The number of sedimentological studies providing data on the sedimentary architecture of deep-marine depositional systems is steadily growing, under the impulse of both industrial and academic drivers. These studies indicate the ongoing need for improved characterization and prediction of deep-marine hydrocarbon reservoirs and the associated interest in deciphering the complex interplay of autogenic and allogenic factors in the rock record. To address these interests there is an urgent need for a method of storing data from many studies of different deep-marine depositional systems in a way that permits different types of datasets to be standardized, such that they can be compared or merged in a reliable and well-founded manner. By drawing upon experience in the development of relational databases for both deep-water and fluvial systems (DWAKB: Baas et al. 2005, FAKTS: Colombera et al. 2012, respectively), an improved database methodology is being developed at Leeds as an instrument to permit the digitization of deep-marine sedimentary architecture (DMAKS 2). DMAKS 2 aims to classify deep-marine depositional systems and to record their fundamental architectural and facies properties, including genetic-unit geometries, and both hierarchy and spatial relationships. DMAKS 2 will in effect be a research tool with which it should be possible to inform and carry out both pure and applied sedimentary research using metadata – an approach that is in its infancy for geological studies.
The candidate will contribute to the development of the DMAKS2 database, driving database population with literature- and field-derived architectural data. Original fieldwork, which may involve the digital acquisition of 3D virtual outcrop models by means of photogrammetrical techniques, will be carried out on ancient deep-marine successions in Europe to obtain data suitable for database population. The candidate could also choose to complement field data with a study involving interpretation of larger-scale sedimentary architecture from seismic datasets. Notably, the candidate will need to identify published case studies of deep-marine sedimentary architecture from which data would be derived for database input, so that metastudies generating new information from the integration of new and published data could be attempted. The multi-scale architectural characterisation enabled by the DMAKS2 design will permit the candidate to tailor the type of field and seismic data collection to suit his/her specific interests and the research questions he/she may want to address. Importantly, to make best use of the database as a research tool, the candidate will need to work on database optimisation, which will be tested through research-focused queries with which the particular research questions or hypotheses will be addressed.
Example research themes that could be addressed within the scope of this project include:
- the compilation of quantitative facies models describing the sedimentology of slope to basin-floor settings of classified deep-marine depositional systems, based on the synthesis of several suitable database case studies;
- investigation of the importance of controlling variables in determining processes and associated sedimentological/architectural features by performing comparative studies of many different systems;
- determination of the scale-dependent or scale-independent nature of architectural features in deep-marine clastic systems;
- application of database output to improve the realism and prediction capability of stochastic and deterministic subsurface forecasting tools.
Candidate should have a degree in Earth Sciences with minimum BSc 2.1 or equivalent. The project would suit a student with strong numerical and computing skills. Experience in geostatistics would be a significant advantage.
The student will be a member of the industry-funded Turbidites Research Group (TRG) JIP project. She/he would thus be integrated into a dynamic and active research group, with ongoing research into deep marine clastics via field studies, physical and numerical modelling and seismic studies. An internship with a major oil company would be possible during the duration of the PhD.
Baas et al. 2005, The deep-water architecture knowledge base: towards an objective comparison of deep-marine sedimentary systems Petrol. Geosci. 11, 309-320.
Colombera et al. 2012, A relational database for the digitization of fluvial architecture: Concepts and example applications Petrol. Geosci. 18, 129-140.