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.
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.
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.