Thread: PhD position in physics-based modeling of fault reactivation and induced seismicity

Started: 2022-01-04 08:55:11
Last activity: 2022-01-04 08:55:11
Institution: Swiss Seismological Service, ETH Zurich
Open Until: 2022-01-31

The Swiss Seismological Service (SED, at the Department of Earth Sciences is the agency responsible for earthquakes monitoring. The SED conducts a broad range of fundamental and applied research in earthquake science and specifically in the field of induced seismicity risk and multi-risk. Within the framework of the project Precode/FEAR at the Bedretto Underground Laboratory for Geosciences and Geonergies (, we intend to further develop physics-based models to study fault reactivation.

The Bedretto Underground Laboratory for Geoscience and Geo-energies offers the outstanding opportunities to observe and analyse countless pico-earthquakes induced during stimulation or mine-by experiments under controlled and repeatable conditions. Using borehole-based multi-parameter arrays of sensors, we strive to model fluid-rock interactions, effects of tunnelling and other triggering mechanism related to fault reactivation and interpret the results in a multidisciplinary context.

With funding from the PRECODE "Progressive Excavation Damage zone evolution during and post mine-by tunneling" and the ERC Synergy project FEAR “Fault Activation and Earthquake Rupture”, we seek at analyzing the impact of tunnel construction on potential reactivation of fault zones and the associated changes in their hydraulic properties as well as modeling earthquake nucleation experiments at decameter scale. As part of a highly interdisciplinary team of scientists you will be involved in designing and modelling experiments on earthquake nucleation, propagation and termination (Contacts: Dr. Antonio Pio Rinaldi, Prof. S. Wiemer).

You will focus on using advanced numerical modeling tools (e.g. TOUGH-FLAC) to perform numerical simulation of fault reactivation at the scale fo the Bedretto Lab (tens to hundreds of meters) and upscaling to the scale of natural/induced seismicity. You will improve current numerical models by implementing theoretical advances in simulators, helping to build a bridge between the different modeling scales. The project is quite flexible and depending on emerging opportunities. You may focus also on modeling for induced seismicity forecasting (e.g. for real-time mitigation purposes) or machine-learning approaches.

The work will be conducted at SED under the supervision of Dr. Antonio Pio Rinaldi and Prof. Stefan Wiemer.

You are highly motivated candidate and have strong curiosity about numerical modeling of coupled fluid flow and geomechanics:

Master degree in Earth Sciences / Physics / Applied Mathematics / Engineering or a related field.
Good knowledge of geomechanics and/or fluid flow in fractured and porous media.
Basic experience with numerical modeling and high-level programming (e.g. Fortran/C++). Candidates with advanced abilities will be preferred.
Some basic abilities of data processing software such as Matlab or Python are required.
You will work in a large interactive and interdisciplinary team and we presuppose abilities in coherent scientific teamwork and the capability of a good work organization as far as detailed way of working.
Experience in laboratory experiments and/or fieldwork is considered an asset
We look forward to receiving your online application by Jan, 31st 2022, with the following documents:

Motivation Letter
Full CV and diplomas
Contact details of two referees
A first round of online interviews will take place in February 2022. The position is available for starting as soon as possible, but the starting date is flexible. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. Further information about the Swiss Seismological Service can be found on our website Questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr. Antonio Pio Rinaldi, email: antoniopio.rinaldi<at> (no applications).

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.
18:50:50 v.be17acbb