NERC Oil and Gas CDT PhD Studentship: Lower Jurassic Source Rocks in Germany/Netherlands or Mudrock Petrography Using Advanced Electron Beam Techniques
One PhD studentship in the NERC Centre for Doctoral Training in Oil & Gas is available at the University of Exeter Penryn Campus. The fully funded studentship will be awarded for one of two possible projects: Lower Jurassic Source Rocks in Germany/Netherlands or Mudrock Petrography Using Advanced Electron Beam Techniques.
Project 1. Lower Jurassic Source Rocks in Germany/Netherlands.Secondary supervisor: Dr Stuart Robinson (University of Oxford)
The pattern of Early Jurassic ‘black shale events’ that relate to global perturbations to the carbon cycle is becoming quite well known for the Early Jurassic, where several such events have been described from NW Europe basins and elsewhere. What is much less well known is how these black shale events relate to regional or global sea-level changes, and the effects of basinal tectonics and palaeogeography on organic matter enrichment and quality within individual basins.
This project take takes advantage of extensive industry core and geophysical data from the Lias of Germany and the Netherlands. The student will integrate the available data and set the black shale occurrences within an overall framework of basin evolution to determine the fundamental controls on local organic enrichment. Detailed chemostratigraphic, petrological (SEM, EDS), and organic geochemical studies will be undertaken, in addition to working with wire-line log and seismic reflection datasets, in order to arrive at an interpretation across the complete range of observational scales.
The student will be part of a larger team of industry-funded researchers working on diverse aspects of mudrock science, both at the Oxford and Exeter, and will benefit from access to state-of-the art analytical and imaging facilities at both institutions.
Project 2. Mudrock Petrography Using Advanced Electron Beam Techniques.
Secondary supervisor: Dr Ian Bailey
Textural and compositional characterisation of mudrocks is of considerable importance in understanding conventional and unconventional source rocks and cap rocks. However, existing methodologies all have limitations. Whilst whole rock mineralogy is determinable through XRD there is a lack of textural data. Microscopy allows textural characterisation, yet determining the mineralogy may be impossible. Manual SEM and TEM studies typically only derive datasets for very small areas. Advances in automated SEM-EDS analysis are challenging some of these limitations. New software algorithms allow very detailed mineralogy to be automatically mapped, whilst in parallel capturing textural data. By integrating automated mineralogy and backscatter image, mapping the distribution of organic components will also be achievable.
In this studentship, the primary aim will be to test the application of advanced automated SEM-EDS analysis in the characterisation of mudrock mineralogy and texture. Initially synthetic standards will be created to allow instrument calibration and reproducibility to be measured. Then suites of mudrocks with different source areas, diagenetic pathways, burial histories, and maturation characteristics will be quantified, and the data obtained through automated mineralogy compared with traditional methodologies. The studentship will result in the development of these new instrumental approaches to characterising mudrocks. This will be highly original work at the forefront of new instrument development and will result in international journal publications. The project will be undertaken with significant scientific input from Duncan Pirrie (Helford Geoscience LLP).
Contact for informal enquiries: Professor Stephen Hesselbo (firstname.lastname@example.org) Tel. 01326 253651
Application criteria: You should have or expect to achieve at least a 1st Class Honours degree, or 2:1 MSci degree or equivalent, in Earth Sciences or related discipline