Research Associate in Sulphide Geochemistry and Seafloor Mineral Deposit Formation
Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate position (RA) in the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Cardiff University to participate in the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funded Highlight Topic project ‘ULTRA: Ultramafic-hosted mineral research and assessment’, under the direction of Professor Christopher MacLeod.
This RA position will investigate sulphide mineral paragenesis and ultramafic-hosted seafloor massive sulphide deposit formation and forms an essential part of the broad multi-disciplinary, multi-institution ULTRA project under the overall leadership and coordination of Professor Bramley Murton (National Oceanography Centre Southampton; https://project-ultra.org/). It is an exciting opportunity to be involved in the systematic investigation of one of the largest seafloor mineral deposits yet known from a mid-ocean ridge environment. The overall project aims to apply a variety of novel methodologies to constrain the controls on mineralisation, via determination of the structure, size and composition of the massive sulphide deposit.
The role of the post-holder will be to assist in the broader multi-disciplinary investigation of the mineral deposit, the ultramafic-hosted ‘Semenov’ deposit on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at 13°30’N, 44°55’W. The post-holder will ideally participate in person on the second of two ULTRA research cruises to the Semenov area, RRS James Cook cruise JC254, from 24th October to 29th November 2023 (https://noc.ac.uk/facilities/ships/rrs-james-cook). Onboard duties are likely to: (1) necessitate the post-holder assisting as required in the collection, curation, preparation, description and characterisation of samples and data acquired at sea by a wide variety of tools and methods; and (2) include responsibility for operating equipment onboard, preparing and analysing samples collected during the cruises. Post-cruise, the post-holder will have primary responsibility for performing and coordinating the major- and trace-element whole-rock and mineral chemical (± isotope) analysis and analytical imaging plus mineralogical study of samples from the Semenov area (many of them sulphides and modified equivalents) collected during both ULTRA cruises (ULTRA-1, cruise JC224, obtained drill core and discrete samples from Semenov in March-April 2022). The post-holder will make a substantive contribution to an understanding of the fluid and mass transfer processes controlling the paragenesis of the Semenov deposit, liaising with other stakeholders to synthesise multidisciplinary models for the formation of this and generic ultramafic-hosted massive seafloor massive sulphide deposits. In addition, they are encouraged to utilise their particular background and expertise to bring additional techniques and novel methodologies to contribute to and expand the scope of the project, utilising the unique analytical facilities and capabilities of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Cardiff University. They will have the opportunity to make use of the School’s recently updated analytical suite, which includes ICP-MS, QQQ ICP-MS, ICP-OES, HR-ICP-MS, MC-ICP-MS, TIMS, 213 and 193nm laser ablation and associated clean preparation laboratories, and state-of-the-art element mapping and other analytical imaging. They will work in collaboration with, and assist when necessary, other staff and researchers in other UK institutions (NOC, the British Geological Survey, and the universities of Southampton and Leeds) and overseas partners involved with ULTRA, under the direction of Professor MacLeod and Professor Murton, to help meet the overall goals of the ULTRA project.
In addition to the above duties, the post-holder will be expected to produce work leading to high-impact research publications, targeting appropriate high-quality peer-reviewed journals, present papers at national and international conferences, participate in and develop education and outreach opportunities related to the ULTRA vision, and contribute to the development of future collaborative research proposals.
The successful applicant will hold a PhD in a relevant subject, e.g. sulphide geochemistry, volcanic massive sulphide mineral deposit paragenesis., and/or fluid-mass transfer modelling of mafic-ultramafic systems. They will have practical field or at-sea experience investigating the geology of mineral deposits, and will have laboratory expertise in the major- and trace-element whole-rock and mineral chemical, and potentially isotopic, analysis of sulphides and associated silicate hosts.
Ship risk assessments and accessibility constraints are under the purview of the National Oceanography Centre/National Marine Facility and the responsibility of ULTRA Chief Scientist Professor Bramley Murton. All sea-going personnel are required to obtain an ENG-1 Seafarer Medical Certificate and undergo a sea survival training course (Certificate of Proficiency in Personal Survival Techniques), both administered by the Maritime & Coastguard Agency (https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/maritime-and-coastguard-agency).
This position is full-time (35 hours per week) and is a fixed-term 2-year appointment. The target start date is 1st September 2023 but with some flexibility as long as the period of the appointment falls within that of the broader ULTRA project.
Salary: £39,347 – £44,263 per annum (Grade 6)
Date advert posted: Thursday, 20 July 2023
Closing Date: Sunday, 20 August 2023
Interested applicants should click here to see the job details