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SPIN ESR 4.1: Ground motion and unrest triggering on volcanoes

Host institution: Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies (DIAS) drawing


main supervisor: Chris Bean (DIAS, IE)
co-supervisor: Andrew Bell (University of Edinburgh, UK)

Application deadline: applications closed Earliest possible starting date: August 23rd, 2021

General information

This PhD position is one of the 15 Early Stage Researcher (ESR) positions within the SPIN project. SPIN is an Innovative Training Network (ITN) funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action (MSCA).

SPIN will focus on training 15 PhD candidates in emerging measurement technologies in seismology. We will research the design of monitoring systems for precursory changes in material properties, all while optimizing observation strategies. The unique interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral network will enable PhDs to gain international expertise at excellent research institutions, with a meaningful exposure of each PhD to other disciplines and sectors, thus going far beyond the education at a single PhD programme.

Project description

Volcanoes are highly heterogeneous, exhibit a multitude of source types and are difficult to image. However dynamic excitation (ground shaking) from both local and regional earthquakes trigger volcano seismicity so can yield additional information about both the pre-eruptive state of volcanic systems and about material behaviour. The precise mechanisms driving this triggering of volcanic unrest are not fully understood, in particular the relative importance of the specifics of earthquake related ground motion (e.g. translations and/or rotations) versus the intrinsic state of volcanic materials at a given point in time (e.g. related to time varying stress and fluid saturation levels within the volcano). In this project we address these problems using complementary datasets that include (i) both local and regional dynamic triggering of events prior to and during the 2016 eruption of Sierra Negra volcano, Galapagos Islands and (ii) a two month duration repeat active shot experiment (at 15 min intervals) at Teide volcano, Tenerife that exhibits dramatic changes in seismic wave velocity, associated with meteorological conditions. Work will be supported by numerical simulations of dynamic excitation with a specific focus on non-linear behaviour of volcanic materials. A key aim is to better understand the role that the interplay between ground motion and the detailed properties of a volcanic edifice play in the volcanoes pathway to eruption. There will be an opportunity to undertake volcano-related field work as part of this project, likely in Iceland.