PhD Position (f_m_x) „3D structural, thermal and rheological modelling of the Andes“


The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national centre for research into the geosphere. With around 1,650 employees, we develop a sound understanding of systems and processes of the solid Earth as well as strategies and options for action to counter global change, understand natural hazards and sustainably secure energy and raw material requirements.

For section 4.5 Subsurface Process Modelling (Department 4 “Geosystems”), we are looking for a:

PhD Position (f_m_x) „3D structural, thermal and rheological modelling of the Andes“

Reference Number 9495

The Andes are an area of active deformation hosting at present the greatest seismic and volcanic hazard. Over the past two decades time series of observations have been collected as part of the IPOC plate observatory and several generations of models have been developed to foster our current understanding of the geodynamics of the region. Efforts are now required to integrate all these observations and models into a coherent Digital Twin of the region describing both the geometry and the physical state of the main geological units, from the sedimentary sequence down to the upper mantle. The goal of the PhD position is to integrate existing 3D geological models of individual segments of the Andes in a consistent manner with respect to gravity field data, newly available seismic observations and tomography data into a unified regional scale model of the larger Andean region integrating the subduction system, the orogen and its adjacent foreland basins. Complementary simulations of the coupled thermal and rheological state of the lithosphere will be carried out to quantitatively predict the 3D distribution of temperature and stress as beneficial to improve the current understanding of the geodynamic set-up of the region and related seismic hazard.

Your responsibilities:

  • Integration of existing 3D geological models of the different segments of the Andean region into a coherent 3D structural model 
  • Improving existing models based on newly available geological, geophysical and geodetic data
  • Numerical simulations of the thermal and rheological state at present-day conditions and considering the above-described heterogeneities
  • Validation of the simulation results against available observations (e.g., from IPOC)
  • Interpretation and publication of the results in peer reviewed journals

Your qualifications:

  • Master degree or diploma in Physics, Mathematics or Geosciences is mandatory 
  • Knowledge of the thermal and rheological configuration of the lithosphere in a subduction setting
  • Knowledge of geophysics and deformation mechanisms
  • Knowledge in 3D structural modeling and numerical methods
  • Programming skills are an advantage 
  • Good English language skills

What we offer:

  • Ambitious and varied tasks in a dynamic and international research environment
  • State-of-the-art equipment
  • Public service benefits
  • Extensive training opportunities
  • Professional career advice offered by our in-house Career-Centre 
  • Flexible working hours and conditions
  • Support with finding a good work-life balance offered by benefit@work
  • Institute day-care centre on site 
  • Working at the Albert Einstein science park on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam
  • Work place within walking distance of Potsdam main train station, or just a short ride on the shuttle bus 

Start date: 1st Oktober 2024
Fixed-term: 36 months
Salary: The position is classed as salary group 13 according to “TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost)”. The salary group is determined on the basis of the Collective Wage Agreement and the respective personal qualifications.
Working hours: Part-time 75% (currently 29.25 h/week)
Place of work: Potsdam

Have we piqued your interest?

If so, we look forward to receiving your application by 31st July 2024. Please use our online application form only.

Requirements on the application:

  • CV
  • Cover letter on research interests plus motivation 
  • Transcripts and diplomas on master degree. If not available, a confirmation from your institution on completed degree by the application deadline (July 31st 2024)
  • Names and contact details of (at least) two referees
  • Scientific publication list (if applicable) 

Diversity and equal opportunities are integral components of our human resources policy. The GFZ actively promotes diversity and explicitly welcomes applications from all qualified individuals, regardless of ethnic and social origin, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion/belief, age and physical characteristics. Anyone who has been recognized as severely disabled, will be given preferential consideration in the event of equal suitability and qualification in accordance with the provisions of the German Social Code IX. If you have any questions, please contact our representative for the severely disabled at sbv[at], who will be happy to assist you in the further application process. In case of further queries regarding gender equality, please do not hesitate to contact our Equal Opportunities Officer at gba[at]

Your personal data will be processed for the purpose of conducting the selection procedure on the basis of Art. 6 para. 1 b, Art. 88 GDPR in conjunction with Art. 26 of the Data Protection Act for the State of Brandenburg. After completion of the procedure, application documents will be deleted in compliance with data protection regulations.

In case of any further queries relating to the field of activity, please contact Vivien Mohnke via email at If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact our recruiting team at our phone number +49 (0) 331-6264-28787.



Franca Buge

Human Resources

0331 288-28787

GFZ - Helmholtz / Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum

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Deadline: 2024-07-31
Location: Germany, Potsdam, Brandenburg
Categories: geophysical sciences , Geosciences, Mathematics, PhD, Physics,


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