Post-seismic deformation of New Zealand

Post-seismic deformation of Australia and New Zealand

Degree type


Closing date

25 September 2023



Citizenship requirement

Domestic / International

About the research project

Deformation of the Earth's surface continues well after major earthquakes. This post-seismic deformation can extend thousands of kilometres and persist for many decades. Precise GPS now show Australia and New Zealand both have ongoing deformation in the horizontal and vertical directions, following major earthquakes in the region including the series of Great Earthquakes since 2004. If these are not accounted for, they may bias understanding of crustal strain, and long-term vertical land motion required for sea level rise projections. Simple models of post-seismic deformation do not closely reproduce the GPS observations where they are available (Riddell et al., 2020), possibly due to spatial variation in the Earth lithosphere and mantle properties that are not included in the models.

This thesis will focus on improved observation of post-seismic deformation of the Australia-New Zealand region combined with the generation of new models of post-seismic deformation. These models will build on recent work to develop a global, spherical, finite element model suitable for post-seismic deformation (Nield et al. 2022).

Outcomes from this thesis will be an improved understanding of the state of the Earth's crust in this region, and how it may evolve in the future.


  • Riddell, A., King, M., Watson, C. Ongoing postseismic vertical deformation of the Australian continent from far-field earthquakes. ESS Open Archive . September 02, 2020. DOI: 10.1002/essoar.10504158.1
  • Nield, G. A., King, M. A., Steffen, R., and Blank, B.: A global, spherical finite-element model for post-seismic deformation using Abaqus, Geosci. Model Dev., 15, 2489–2503,, 2022.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Matt King


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend 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 all applicants with a background in quantitative Earth sciences, mathematics, engineering, physics, or geodesy
  • The degree must be undertaken on a full-time basis
  • Applicants must already have been awarded a First Class Honours degree or hold equivalent qualifications or relevant and substantial research experience in an appropriate sector
  • International applicants will need at least one publication in a good quality international peer-reviewed journal to be competitive for a scholarship
  • 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:

  • Coding experience in python, matlab, or similar environments

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • A background in numerical modelling would be an advantage, especially with the ABAQUS software
  • A background in geodetic GNSS data analysis would be an advantage

Application process

  1. Select your project, and check that you meet the eligibility and selection criteria, including citizenship;
  2. Contact Prof Matt King 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 25 September 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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