Map of the Main Ethiopian Rift showing topography, lakes and volcanoes. Key:
Map of the Main Ethiopian Rift (MER) showing topography, lakes (labelled in yellow), volcanoes (red triangles) and centres of population (white stars).
Key: NMER – northern sgement of the MER; CMER – central segment; SMER – southern segnment. Lakes (N-S): Ko – Koka; Zw – Ziway; Ln – Langano; Ab – Abiyata; Sh – Shala; Ay – Abaya. Towns/Cities (N-S): AA – Addis Ababa; NZ – Nazret; SH – Shashemene; AW – Awassa. Figure credit: Will Hutchison.
Rift Volcanism: Past, Present, Future is a new 5-year large-scale research project funded by NERC to investigate the volcanism of the Main Ethiopian Rift. The project involves researchers from 6 UK universities (Edinburgh, Bristol, Oxford, Cambridge, Leeds and Southampton), Addis Ababa University, the Geological Survey of Ethiopia and the British Geological Survey. Here are links to a series of PhD topics that are being offered by researchers across the consortium. The funding for these projects will mainly be offered through the appropriate Doctoral Training Partnership – so follow the links to find out how to apply.
Since funding for these projects comes from the UK Natural Environment Research Council, there are quite strict eligibility rules: UK residents should be entitled to full funding; EU nationals who are not UK residents should be entitled to support for fees, but may need additional scholarships to cover living costs; while international students will need to be funded from scholarships or other sources: if in doubt, please ask!.
Bristol (GW4+ Doctoral Training Partnership).
Monitoring induced seismicity due to geothermal energy production in active volcanic systems.
UK Supervisors: Mike Kendall (Bristol), Richard Luckett (BGS), Juliet Biggs (Bristol), Brian Baptie (BGS)
Cambridge (Fully funded project)
Eruption dynamics of peralkaline rhyolitic volcanism in the Main Ethiopian Rift.
UK Supervisors: Marie Edmonds (Earth Sciences) & Kathy Cashman (University of Bristol)
Edinburgh (Edinburgh E3 Doctoral Training Partnership)
Understanding the nature of pyroclastic density current generation at Quaternary silicic volcanoes in the Main Ethiopian Rift.
UK Supervisors: Eliza Calder (Edinburgh), David Pyle (Oxford), Julia Crummy (British Geological Survey).
Understanding patterns of volcano-tectonic seismicity in active continental rifts (Fully funded project)
Supervisors: Andrew Bell, Ian Main (Edinburgh)
Leeds (Leeds – York Doctoral Training Partnership; fully funded project)
What controls the magmatic plumbing systems of spreading centres in Afar?
UK Supervisors: Tim Wright (SEE), Andy Hooper (SEE), Juliet Biggs (Bristol)
Oxford (Oxford Doctoral Training Partnership in Environmental Research)
Volcanic carbon dioxide emissions in the Main Ethiopian Rift.
UK Supervisors: Tamsin Mather, David Pyle (Oxford)
Understanding volcanism in rift settings: the frequency and magnitude of large explosive eruptions in the Main Ethiopian Rift.
UK Supervisors: Tamsin Mather, David Pyle, Karen Fontijn, Victoria Smith (Oxford)
Southampton (SPITFIRE Doctoral Training Partnership)
Interaction between magmatic processes and faulting at an active rift valley volcano
Supervisors: Derek Keir (Southampton), Alex Brisbourne (British Antarctic Survey).
The RiftVolc project follows on from a number of major research activities in the Ethiopian rift over the past twenty years which have involved collaborators from Ethiopia, Europe and the United States. These include:
Afar Rift Consortium (2007 – 2012) with a focus on the Afar region of northern Ethiopia
EAGLE – the Ethiopian Afar Geoscientific Lithospheric Experiment (2003 – 2007)
GeoPrisms – East African Rift System Primary Site, a part of the NSF-funded GeoPrisms programme.
Other studentship opportunities
PhD topics related to a NERC-funded ‘Mantle Volatiles’ research theme
The VMSG list of PhD topics in volcanology