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2015- sujet thèse "Holocene glacier dynamics and subglacial erosion rates"

9 avril 2015 ( maj : 17 avril 2015 ), par Jean Louis Mugnier

A 3-year PhD position is available at Aix Marseille University (Ecole Doctorale Sciences de l’environnement), supervised by Dr. Irene Schimmelpfennig at CEREGE (Aix en Provence, France) and Dr. Jean-Louis Mugnier at ISTerre (Chambéry, France), and granted by the ANR project VIPMontBlanc.
It deals with the following topic :
The Mont Blanc massif (MBM) hosts the highest summit of the European Alps, the Mont Blanc ( 4810 m), and belongs to the most attractive destinations for mountaineering in Europe. While at present the glacierized areas of this mountain range are rapidly shrinking, the impact of climate change on the processes that locally control its relief and landscape are poorly constrained. As part of a National Research Agency (ANR) funded collaborative project, which investigates the rates of these processes at various time scales, this PhD study aims at contributing to the understanding of the morphological and environmental evolution of the MBM during the current interglacial, the Holocene (past 11,500 years). Dating glacio-geomorphic features (moraines, glacially scoured bedrock) with in situ cosmogenic nuclides, the goal is to establish Holocene chronologies of glacier fluctuations, quantify Holocene subglacial abrasion rates and interpret the results within both the local and large-scale paleoclimatic context. A particular emphasis will lie on a novel dating method that combines in situ 14C and 10Be analysis in deglaciated pro-and subglacial bedrock samples to reconstruct past periods of retracted glaciers and investigate subglacial abrasion rates.
Scientific methods and activities will include field work (sample collection, mapping), physical and chemical sample preparation, participation in the technical development of the new in situ 14C laboratory at CEREGE, data analysis, and modelling of glacier extent. These activities will be performed at CEREGE under supervision of Dr. Irene Schimmelpfennig. The PhD student will also participate in a continuous monitoring of the present-day erosion at the base of glacier and modelling of the sub-glacial erosion rate through a comparison between present-day and Holocene rates. The latter activities will be performed at ISTerre (Chambéry) under supervision of Dr. Jean-Louis Mugnier.

Applicants must have a Master degree or equivalent in Geosciences or a related field, should be highly motivated and have demonstrated experience and/or strong interest in applied geochemistry, field geology/geomorphology, method development and modelling. We also expect some mobility between the two host institutes CEREGE and ISTerre during the 3-year PhD project duration.

The application is open right now, and it is expected that the work will begin in september in order to allow a first sampling campaign this year.
For applications we require a letter of motivation, short description of previous research experience (if applicable), a CV and publication list (if applicable) and contact details for one or two referees. Applications can be in French or English.
Questions about the PhD project as well as applications should be addressed to Dr. Irene Schimmelpfennig ( and Dr. Jean-Louis Mugnier (