ETH Zurich

PhD position in Volcano Seismology: Joint seismic tomography and stress change modeling at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaiʻi

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ETH Zurich is well known for its excellent education, ground-breaking fundamental research and for implementing its results directly into practice.

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PhD position in Volcano Seismology: Joint seismic tomography and stress change modeling at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawaiʻi

The Swiss Seismological Service (SED, www.seismo.ethz.ch) at the Department of Earth Sciences at ETH Zürich is the agency responsible for earthquake monitoring as well as hazard and risk assessment in Switzerland. The SED conducts a broad range of fundamental and applied research in earthquake science and is involved in several projects in the field of volcano science and seismic monitoring and imaging.

Project background

Within the framework of the SNSF-funded project “Anatomy and dynamics of volcanic systems: insights from a joint seismic tomography and seismicity analysis of Kīlauea Volcano” we intend to further develop novel approaches in waveform and array tomography to study subsurface magmatic processes. This proposal addresses the central theme of understanding magma generation and transport from the mantle through the crust to the surface. Specifically, this work will explore the magmatic system of Kīlauea volcano, a natural volcanic laboratory on the Big Island, Hawaiʻi. We plan to deploy 500 new temporary nodal stations as well as leverage many past stations to push developments in high-fidelity seismic imaging, temporal monitoring, seismicity characterization and fault loading response caused by ascending magma.

Job description

You will focus on applying various analysis and modelling techniques to constrain the three-dimensional seismological structure beneath Kīlauea (from the mantle to the crust) using data recorded by a large-N nodal experiment, which the student will help deploy. Furthermore, you will improve the current state of the art of tomographic imaging by designing and implementing a joint inversion scheme for multiple seismic data types (body-wave, ambient noise, receiver function and active source seismology). As part of a highly interdisciplinary team of Earth scientists, you will have the opportunity to be involved in statistical analyses of earthquake catalogues, and seismicity-based stress change modelling to advance our understanding of how melt moves and provide insights into the stress distribution in the Earth's crust too, in turn, inform hazard scenarios.

The work will be conducted at SED under the supervision of Dr Federica Lanza and Prof. Stefan Wiemer. You will also benefit from interdisciplinary and interinstitutional collaboration with international experts in volcanology, seismic monitoring/imaging and geomechanical modelling. Project team members include Dr Ninfa Bennington (USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory), Prof. Helen Janiszewski (the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa), Dr Men-Andrin Meier (ETH Zürich), and Dr Antonio Pio Rinaldi (SED, ETH Zürich).

Your profile

We are seeking a highly motivated individual with a strong interest in volcanic processes, inverse modelling and geophysics: 

  • A Master's degree in Earth Sciences / Physics / Mathematics or a related discipline is required.
  • A strong foundation in analysing large datasets and modern scientific programming (e.g., advanced Matlab and/or Python knowledge) would be ideal; knowing any additional programming language will be an advantage (e.g., Fortran).
  • Strong quantitative background and experience in computational methods and data inversions would be an asset.
  • Knowledge of tomography software/package/routines is highly desirable, but not essential.
  • Experience in fieldwork is considered an asset.
  • The PhD student will be required to work as part of an international team. We presuppose abilities in coherent scientific teamwork, excellent communication skills (spoken and written English) and the capability of a good work organization as far as a precise way of working.

We offer

ETH Zürich is a family-friendly employer with excellent working conditions. You can look forward to an exciting working environment, cultural diversity and attractive offers and benefits.

Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich

We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application by December 20th 2022, with the following documents:

  • Motivation Letter
  • Full CV
  • Contact details of two referees

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. The first round of online interviews will take place in January 2023. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. Further information about the Swiss Seismological Service can be found on our website. Questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr Federica Lanza, email: federica.lanza@sed.ethz.ch (no applications).

About ETH Zürich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.

Job details

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About the employer

ETH Zurich is well known for its excellent education, ground-breaking fundamental research and for implementing its results directly into practice.

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