Soil formation is determined by environmentally controlled rates of chemical weathering. Whilst short-term chemical weathering rates are well constrained, it remains challenging to constrain weathering rates over timescales of 1 ka or more. This SNSF funded SPARK project seeks to determine whether the total amount of weathering experienced by silicate minerals can be estimated from their luminescence properties.
The project will combine lab-based weathering experiments with the characterisation of sample luminescence properties (i.e., emission spectra, intensity, ground-state tunnelling rate, thermal stability, etc.) to develop a luminescence-based proxy of total weathering amount. This proxy will then be tested on natural soil minerals with known weathering histories.
The successful candidate will join the newly launched Swiss Trapped Charge dating facility (SWITCH), led by Prof. Georgina King and Prof. Frédéric Herman, and will also work with Prof. Jasquelin Pēna and Dr. Stephanie Grand in the Institute of Earth Surface Dynamics, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
SWITCH specialises in pairing empirical data with numerical modelling to develop novel geochronological techniques for understanding environmental change. SWITCH hosts a state-of-the-art luminescence dating laboratory comprising dedicated rock preparation facilities, a high precision Ge detector gamma spectrometer, benchtop ESR spectrometer, X-ray irradiator, five Risø TL-DA-20 readers including single-grain, time-resolved (single photon capture), CCD and emission spectroscopy measurement capabilities. Facilities for mineralogical and geochemical characterisation as well as mineral dissolution experiments are available in-house.
The ideal candidate will have a doctoral degree in geography/geology/earth/soil science, physics or chemistry, will have experience of luminescence dating or luminescence spectroscopy and an interest in developing new analytical approaches.
Further details and the application portal can be found here. Informal enquires should be directed to Georgina King (firstname.lastname@example.org).