PhD Project in detecting Earth’s mafic protocrust

Copenhagen University
April 30, 2024
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
Working type:N/A
Ref info:N/A

PhD fellowship in Geology

Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Section for Geology Faculty of SCIENCE

University of Copenhagen

The Section for Geology at the University of Copenhagen invites applicants for a PhD fellowship in ‘Searching for evidence of Earth's missing mafic protocrust amongst the oldest terrestrial sedimentary rocks'. The project is part of the research project “ChroMCrust”, which is financed by the European Union's ERC starting grant.

Start date is expected to be 1 September 2024 or soon after.

The project

Contemporary models for Earth's formation and early evolution suggest that Earth's first crust was mafic, most likely formed at ~4.5–4.4 Ga through crystallisation of a magma ocean following Earth's accretion and the Moon forming impact. However, there are no known rocks of this age preserved on Earth and the only minerals approaching this age are zircons formed during later generation of intermediate or felsic crust. Despite abundant indirect evidence for a mafic protocrust, there is as of yet no direct evidence for its existence or any direct constraints on its composition.

During this PhD project, you will address this question by searching for traces of eroded mafic protocrust in some of Earth's oldest sedimentary rocks. This work will focus on the recently developed use of detrital chromite for detecting the age and composition of ancient mafic crust that has since been destroyed through erosion or tectonic processes. You will work with samples from a range of Archaean cratons, develop methods for extracting age data from small and complex chromite populations, and aim to produce the first direct evidence for the composition of Earth's mafic protocrust.

Our group and research- and what do we offer?

You will work as part of the Geochemistry and Mineral Resources group. Our research focusses on using the geochemistry, mineralogy and petrology of rocks to understand the origin and evolution of the Earth's crust, mantle, atmosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere. The group is a part of Section for Geology, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, located in Copenhagen. Our research facilities include instruments for conducting a wide range of in-situ and high precision geochemical analyses (EPMA, LA-ICP-MS, XRD, TIMS, micro-XRF).

Supervisor is Assistant Professor Pedro Waterton , [email protected]

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for motivated and curious candidates within the fields of geology and geochemistry, with an interest in Archaean geology or continental growth. The following skills and experiences are desired:

  • Experience collecting and analysing geochemical data, for example using EPMA, ICP-MS, TIMS, or similar instruments
  • A good understanding of data quality in science
  • Great attention to detail and an ability to work with limited or challenging samples
  • Ability to work well both independently and as part of a team
  • Strong initiative and desire to shape your own research project
  • Research will be conducted in English, so a good command of both written and spoken English is essential. To be eligible, you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master's degree, related to geology and geochemistry and obtained before 1st September 2024.

    Responsibilities and tasks

  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision

  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE

  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high-impact journals
  • Write and defend a PhD thesis on the basis of your project
  • Terms of employment Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for maximum 3 years.

    Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

    The terms of employment and salary are in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

    Application and Assessment Procedure

    Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

    Please include :

  • Cover letter highlighting particularly relevant experience and describing your motivation for applying (max. one page)
  • Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, language skills, any publications (if applicable), and other skills relevant for the position
  • One piece of scientific writing that you are particularly proud of, for example your Bachelor's thesis, Master's thesis or a scientific paper for which you are the primary author
  • Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science or Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another language than English or Danish. If not completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.
  • Contact details for between one and three References and one to three reference letters
  • Application deadline:

    The deadline for applications is 30 April 2024, 23:59 GMT +1 .

    We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the abovementioned requirements.

    The further process After deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You will be notified if you are selected for assessment.

    The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified and, if so, for which of the two models. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at https: //

    Questions For specific information about the PhD fellowship, please contact the supervisor.

    General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School's website: https: // www.

    The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal background to apply for the position.

    From this employer

    Recent blogs

    Recent news