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Durham University

Department of Geography

Jobs Headlines

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Physical Geography - Ref: 019540

(12 July 2019)

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate (PDRA) in numerical modelling of the solid Earth.

The successful applicant will contribute to a project led by Dr Pippa Whitehouse that seeks to constrain West Antarctic mantle viscosity via the analysis and modelling of precise GPS measurements of Earth’s response to surface mass balance anomalies. Recent studies suggest that much of West Antarctica is underlain by weak mantle. This matters because ice sheet mass balance estimates must be corrected for the process of glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), and this correction requires modelling of the solid Earth: if our understanding of mantle rheology is wrong then GIA models will be wrong. It also matters because recent theoretical studies have demonstrated that weaker areas of mantle will introduce negative feedbacks that may mitigate against future ice sheet grounding line retreat. In both cases the mantle viscosity and its spatial variation needs to be quantified. This project aims to quantify mantle viscosity across West Antarctica via innovative analysis of the viscoelastic response to episodic surface loading anomalies. New crustal motion constraints from an extensive Antarctic GPS network will provide the means to achieve these goals.

For informal enquiries please contact Pippa Whitehouse (, +44 191 334 1877). All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence.