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Postgraduate research project

A seismic study of the continent-ocean transition southwest of the UK

Fully funded (UK and international)
Type of degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Entry requirements
2:1 honours degree View full entry requirements
Faculty graduate school
Faculty of Environmental and Life Sciences
Closing date

About the project

The breakup of continents is fundamental to the creation of the Earth’s surface and oceans but many aspects remain poorly understood. Breakup involves a complex interplay of extensional tectonics and magmatism, resulting in a range of rifted margin types, including a “magma-poor” end-member involving broad regions of exhumed and serpentinised (hydrated) mantle. Breakup at such margins is commonly followed by slow to ultra-slow seafloor spreading, which can also result in mantle exhumation and thus ambiguity about where seafloor spreading starts. Normal faulting plays a key role in supplying fluids driving serpentinisation beneath hyper-extended continental crust but its role in regions of exhumed mantle is less clear. To address these issues, we will image lateral variations in serpentinisation and magmatism at the Goban Spur margin, southwest of the UK by acquiring new densely-sampled ocean bottom seismic data across this margin (expected summer 2023). The student will integrate this dataset with pre-existing wide-angle seismic data and extensive pre-existing multichannel reflection data along the same profiles and nearby, some of which were newly acquired in 2021. Interpretation will be guided also by results from an electromagnetic survey carried out as part of the same project.   

For full project details visit the Inspire project page.

Lead supervisor

  • Doctor Gaye Bayrakci (National Oceanography Centre)


  • Professor Tim Minshull (University of Southampton)
  • Professor Tim Henstock (University of Southampton)