Exploring the 6th February 2023 Turkish earthquakes: significance for complex seismic events and regional geodynamics


Exploring the 6th February 2023 Turkish earthquakes: significance for complex seismic events and regional geodynamics


Project Description


Dr Sarah Boulton, University of Plymouth – Contact me 

Dr Zoë Mildon, University of Plymouth, School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Dr Ekbal Hussain, British Geological Survey

Dr Cengiz Yıldırım, Istanbul Technical University


The 6th February 2023 earthquakes (Mw 7.8 / 7.7) that occurred on the East Anatolian Fault Zone in Türkiye resulted in the deaths of >59,000 people, with many more displaced and injured. Despite past research on these faults, the magnitude, complexity and severity of this event was unprecedented compared to recent and historical earthquakes in the region1. In a global seismic hazard context, it is frequently assumed that earthquakes only occur on single faults, but recent examples of continental strike-slip faulting earthquakes, such as the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake and the 2023 Turkish earthquakes, have been highly complex ruptures2. This raises the possibility that such complex ruptures, which were thought to be rare, are actually more common that previously hypothesised. In addition, there are unanswered key questions on the nature of the plate boundary configuration, and on the long-term development and release of stress and strain across this complex fault network3,4. This timely research project will investigate these interconnected problems to generate new understanding on the tectonic structure of the research area and on complex strike-slip earthquakes more broadly, with implications for the understanding of earthquake hazard worldwide.

Research Methodology

The project will combine field data collection, remote sensing and computer modelling. Fieldwork will collect structural and geomorphic data on fault networks in Türkiye. InSAR analysis5 will be used to analyse coseismic deformation and interseismic strain accumulation in the years leading up to the earthquakes. Coulomb stress modelling will be used to model the stress field from historical and recent earthquakes, and to investigate how faults may interact in the future.


The individual will join a team of international experts who will deliver training in remote sensing/GIS, field techniques (geomorphic mapping, TruPulse, DGPS/drone surveys), InSAR analysis and earthquake modelling using a number of tools, which will require development of advanced coding skills, as well as generic research skills.

Person Specification

We are looking for a candidate who can integrate data from different geological disciplines. A degree in a geoscience discipline is essential, and some experience of coding (any language) is desirable.

Key Information

  • This project has been shortlisted for funding by the ARIES NERC DTP and will start on 1st October 2024. The closing date for applications is 23:59 on 10th January 2024.
  • Successful candidates who meet UKRI’s eligibility criteria will be awarded a NERC studentship, which covers fees, stipend (£18,622 p.a. for 2023/24) and research funding. International applicants are eligible for fully-funded ARIES studentships including fees. Please note however that ARIES funding does not cover additional costs associated with relocation to, and living in, the UK. We expect to award between 4 and 6 studentships to international candidates in 2024.
  • ARIES students benefit from bespoke graduate training and ARIES provides £2,500 to every student for access to external training, travel and conferences, on top of all Research Costs associated with the project. Excellent applicants from quantitative disciplines with limited experience in environmental sciences may be considered for an additional 3-month stipend to take advanced-level courses.
  • ARIES is committed to equality, diversity, widening participation and inclusion in all areas of its operation. We encourage enquiries and applications from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, age, sexual orientation and transgender status. Academic qualifications are considered alongside non-academic experience, and our recruitment process considers potential with the same weighting as past experience.
  • All ARIES studentships may be undertaken on a part-time or full-time basis, visa requirements notwithstanding.
  • For further information, please contact the supervisor. To apply for this Studentship follow the instructions at the bottom of the page or click the 'apply now' link.
  • ARIES is required by our funders to collect Equality and Diversity Information from all of our applicants. The information you provide will be used solely for monitoring and statistical purposes; it will remain confidential, and will be stored on the UEA sharepoint server. Data will not be shared with those involved in making decisions on the award of Studentships, and will have no influence on the success of your application. It will only be shared outside of this group in an anonymised and aggregated form. You will be ask to complete the form by the University to which you apply.
  • ARIES funding is subject to UKRI terms and conditions. Postgraduate Researchers are expected to live within reasonable distance of their host organisation for the duration of their studentship. See https://www.ukri.org/publications/terms-and-conditions-for-training-funding/ for more information

Applications open

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