Submarine Volcanism

Submarine Caldera-Forming Eruption at Macauley, Kermadec Arc

Degree type


Closing date

1 November 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International


$31,500pa for 3.5 years

About the research project

We are seeking a PhD student in geochemistry and volcanology to undertake a fully funded 3.5-year PhD project (PhD stipend, international fees and research costs). The student will have the rare opportunity to undertake a combined fieldwork and marine core-based study on outstanding submarine-erupted volcanic deposits. The candidate should have an excellent background in volcanic facies analysis, igneous geochemistry, command of scientific writing and the ability to conduct fieldwork in remote and difficult conditions.

The PhD project aims at studying the volcanic facies and geochemistry of the 6.4 ka caldera-forming silicic eruption of Macauley volcano, Kermadec arc/Rangitāhua. The now submarine Macauley caldera produced enormous submarine pumiceous sediment waves on its flank, in addition to complex pyroclastic density current deposits on the nearby Macauley Island. The project dataset will be based on an onland expedition on the very remote Macauley Island to which the student will participate, and already collected sediment core samples from the submarine wave deposits.

This project is part of a larger project aiming at understanding the behaviour of submarine silicic caldera eruptions and their impact. The project is funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC) through a successful ARC Discovery Project. The full project will determine the conditions that lead to explosive eruptions underwater, the dynamics of associated sediment flows, and under what conditions can these events trigger tsunami. Expected outcomes include an unprecedented reconstruction of the architecture of submarine caldera volcanoes, regional chronostratigraphic reconstructions, new innovative models applicable globally for a richer understanding of volcanic tsunami and eruptions that shape the seafloor. This project will provide significant benefits through mitigation of global marine natural hazards, and by improving knowledge on the volcanic hosts of ore deposits.

The student would be part of the dynamic Volcanology Group at the University of Tasmania. The School of Natural Sciences hosts the world-class Centre for Ore Deposit and Earth Sciences (CODES) and Central Science Laboratory. In addition to the local supervisors, the student will benefit from national and international advisors, including Prof. Steffen Gallagher at U. Melbourne, Dr. Steffen Kutterolf at GEOMAR, Prof. Michael Manga at UC Berkeley, Dr Emily Lane at NIWA, Prof. Y. Yokoyama at U. Tokyo, and others.

Tasmania's breathtaking landscapes, pristine beaches, and abundant wildlife create an awe-inspiring environment to explore and appreciate. There are endless opportunities for outdoor adventures, hiking, surfing, and sightseeing. Hobart is a lovely small city snuggled between the wilderness of forested mountains and the vast Southern Ocean. We have a rich cultural scene, with a thriving arts community, museum and art galleries, and various festivals and events throughout the year. The city's historic charm is evident in its well-preserved Georgian buildings, where bustling markets, cafes, bars and restaurants can be found. Embracing the slower pace of life, the student will find Hobart to be a place of warmth (despite the cool climate) and authenticity.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Dr Martin Jutzeler


The successful applicant will receive a scholarship which provides:

  • a living allowance stipend funded by ARC of $31,500 per annum (2023 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.

Other funding opportunities and fees

For further information regarding other scholarships on offer, and the various fees of undertaking a research degree, please visit our Scholarships and fees on research degrees page.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applications are open to Domestic/ International/ Onshore applicants
  • Applications are open to applications for applicants with a strong volcanology, igneous geochemistry and/or marine geosciences background only
  • English language score must be above minimum entry requirements for this project
  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • The candidate should have an excellent background in volcanic facies analysis, igneous geochemistry, command of scientific writing and the ability to conduct fieldwork in remote and difficult conditions

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Dr Martin Jutzeler to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. In your application:
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • Submit a signed supervisory support form, a CV including contact details of 2 referees and your project research proposal.
  4. Apply prior to 1 November 2023.

Full details of the application process can be found under the 'How to apply' section of the Research Degrees website.

Following the closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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