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Starting date: November 2021 

Contact: Bruno Pace (, Oona Scotti ( – Stephane Mazzotti (, Francesco Visini (

Location: Italy/France

  • Università Chieti-Pescara, Italy
  • Bureau d’évaluation des risques sismiques pour la sûreté des installations (BERSSIN) – Fontenay-aux-Roses 
  • Géosciences Montpellier, Université de Montpellier – Montpellier 


  • Master in Earth Sciences or equivalent
  • Basic skills and strong interest in quantitative methods applied to geology, geodesy, geophysics, seismology, computer programming.

Thesis subject 

The objective of this thesis is to develop new methods for the integration of geodetic strain velocity data into the characterization of seismogenic sources. Geodetic data (GPS measurements) have been used for about two decades in comparison with the slip rates of faults and with seismicity. In tectonically “simple” regions with high seismic activity (eg, San Andreas fault), we observe a first order agreement between the geodetic strain rates, the fault rates measured by geological methods, and the rate of strong earthquakes known from catalogs. In recent years, developments in methods for analyzing geodetic data and the sharp increase in the density of GPS networks have made it possible to significantly improve the resolution of deformation rates. These developments thus make it possible to use this new data to test their role in the characterization of the seismogenic sources used in the probabilistic calculation of seismic hazard.

In order to address these questions, this thesis project will aim to integrate geodetic deformation data and those from geology into fault system models allowing the generation of synthetic seismicity catalogs, which will be tested against instrumental, historical and paleoseismological seismicity catalogs. These studies will be based on the most recent methodological developments. The target site for this thesis is the Central Apennines region in Italy, focus (see references) of an ongoing international effort of the FAULT2SHA ESC WG.

In particular, two major points will be tested: (1) What is the part of seismic and aseismic deformation (eg, post-seismic creep) in the estimates of deformation rates at the scale of a fault up to the regional scale? (2) Can we constrain and characterize seismic super-cycles (periods of intense activity on fault systems followed by periods of quiescence) as suggested by several researchers recently?

The first challenge of the thesis will consist in developing a set of methodologies to extract differential velocities useful for the parameterization of seismogenic sources. This work will be based on recent doctoral and master’s work in host laboratories, in particular in order to estimate fault rates with uncertainties (probability distribution) as precise as possible.

The second challenge of the thesis will be to configure a model of seismogenic sources integrating both geological and geodetic data. The major questions addressed in this work will relate to the attribution of seismic and aseismic deformation at both the scale of the fault systems and at the scale of individual faults, the confrontation between the parameterization of models with geological data of long-term deformation (Quaternary), and more generally the characterization of possible seismic scenarios.


Masson, C., Mazzotti, S., and Vernant, P.: Precision of continuous GPS velocities from statistical analysis of synthetic time series, Solid Earth, 10, 329–342,, 2019.

Chartier, T., Scotti, O., and Lyon‐Caen, H.: SHERIFS: Open‐Source Code for Computing Earthquake Rates in Fault Systems and Constructing Hazard Models, Seismological Research Letters, 90-4, 1678-1688.

Faure-Walker, J., Boncio, P., Pace, B., Roberts, G., Benedetti, L., Scotti, O., Visini, F., Peruzza, L.: Fault2SHA Central Apennines database and structuring active fault data for seismic hazard assessment. Nature Scientific Data 8, 87.

Scotti, O., Visini, F., Faure-Walker, J., Peruzza, L., Pace, B., Benedetti, L., Boncio, P., Roberts, G.: Which Fault Threatens Me Most? Bridging the Gap Between Geologic Data-Providers and Seismic Risk Practitioners. Frontiers in Earth Science 8, 626401.

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Details :



CEREGE has an opening for a post-doctoral position in morphotectonics and structural geology. The project (EQ-TIME PI: Lucilla Benedetti) is funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) to constrain how successive earthquakes accrue on individual faults to produce kilometer- scale displacements and tectonic landforms. For that purpose, we propose to constrain and compare datasets on specific fault systems of the various stage of a fault escarpment build-up from timescales ranging from 10 to 106 a and to identify from those comparisons key information linking long-term morphology and seismic rupturing pattern. Constraining the fault slip over the 100 – 106 time window and encompassing spatial scales from 102 to 105 meters has been rarely achieved. To fulfil this challenge we focus on the Apennines range in Italy (host of the 2016 seismic sequence, 5 shocks Mw5 to 6.5 over 9 months) as it provides one of the most appropriate places worldwide to study long-term morphological build-up from the addition of individual earthquakes.

In this framework, the post-doctoral fellow will have an active role in the quantification of deformation across the Apennines over the long-term (100 ka to 2 Ma). The objective will be to assess how active structures accomodate the extension, their finite displacement, their extension- rate and how those parameters have evolved through time and space. The study will start by a compilation of the published datasets (geological maps, seismic reflection profiles, tomographic data, geophysical data) on three targeted areas along the Apennines. The post-doctoral researcher will complement those observations by field data acquisition and additional shallow geophysical surveys on specific fault systems. Those data will be analyzed and inverted to accurately characterize the shallow structures. These constraints will be combined with long-wavelength structural geology data and will contribute to restore well-constrained serial balanced cross sections at regional scale. This comprehensive dataset will allow estimating rates of deformation and finite amounts of extension accommodated over the last 1 Ma by each target fault system.

From an analysis of the topography and morphology using satellite images and DEMs (high- resolution DEMs produced from satellite- (Pleiades), aerial- and UAV-derived photogrammetry), and field observations, the post-doctorate fellow will identify Quaternary passive markers of the deformation to quantify the displacement over shorter time scales (10-100 kyr). Those markers will be dated using 36Cl cosmogenic nuclide or others Quaternary chronological dating techniques to derive rates of deformation over this time-scale.

The position will be based at CEREGE (Aix-en-Provence, France) and the candidate will benefit from various interactions and collaborations with members of the Earth and Planetary group of CEREGE. The work will be carried out in close collaboration with research groups in France at Geosciences Montpellier, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris and EOST Strasbourg and, in Italy, at INGV, Universita di Chieti and OGS.

The postdoc is expected to provide regular progress updates and manage communication amongst the different groups. The post-doctoral fellow will present his/her scientific results in international meetings, and write scientific papers to be published in peer-reviewed international journals.

Duration / Salary

This Post-Doctoral position is proposed for a duration of 24 months, to be started as early as September 2020 and at latest by January 2021. Net salary will depend on previous experience , and will average ~40 k€/year.

Qualifications and Application procedure

The candidates should have completed a PhD degree in tectonics or structural geology, with experience in building and restoring geological cross-sections and/or active tectonics. The applicants are expected to send their curriculum and a brief summary of their past research experience and scientific results to Lucilla Benedetti and Vincent Godard

The names and contact information of two (or more) referees will also be provided. Applications are open and will be considered upon reception as long as the position is vacant.


Supervisors: A.-A. Gabriel (LMU Munich), S. Hok and O. Scotti (IRSN)


Duration: 2 years

Starting date: Flexible, between Sept 2020 and Sept 2021

Location: Paris, France and Munich, Germany

Pre-requisites: PhD; experience in dynamic earthquake rupture (laboratory or numerical)

Our offer: Opportunity to develop a new approach in seismic hazard modeling; collaborate with a well-established European network of fault modelers internationally renowned and top-level scientists in a multidisciplinary team (geologists, seismologists, geodesists and hazard modelers); learn to solve complex problems using high performance computing facilities.

Objectives:Probabilistic Seismic hazard modeling aims to forecast earthquake occurrence and its resultant ground shaking. One of the main challenges relies in an adequate quantification of uncertainty involved in seismic-source and ground-motion models. Seismic source models are today evolving towards considering multi-segment ruptures in complex fault systems as observed in recent events (i.e. the 2016 Mw7.8 Kaikoura, New Zealand earthquake with more than 20 individual faults involved). However, evaluating the possibility of future complex earthquake ruptures in any given fault system remains a major challenge. Physics-based computer models allow to simulate how fault interact with each other during their rupture and cause shaking at the surface of the earth. As such they provide a framework for the exploration of the space of viable rupture scenarios.  

The candidate PostDoc will develop 3D dynamic earthquake rupture scenarios across complex fault systems combining nonlinear frictional failure and seismic wave propagation by exploring a range of viable physical parameters. Empowered by supercomputing, such models will produce physics-based forecasts of ground motions and fault interaction as well as providing insight into fundamental processes of earthquake physics.


The main challenge and task of the candidate PostDoc will be to first construct the fault model(s) based on the integration of the rich amount of data available in the Central Appenines, Italy. For this part, the PostDoc will interact with the ANR-EQTIME partners. In a second phase, the candidate will focus on the exploration of the physical parameters of the fault model (3D fault geometry, regional stress orientation and amplitude, fluid pore pressure, anelastic behavior parameters, faults’ frictional parameters). For setting these parameters and their variability in such a blind prediction exercise, a puzzling challenge consists in bridging the apparent gaps between the large range of variations implied by Bayesian inversions on simple faults (e.g. Gallovic et al. 2019) and the tighter variability allowed for the reproduction of multi-fault rupture scenarios of past earthquakes (e.g. Wollherr et al., 2019, Ulrich et al., 2019).

Expected Results:

The final purpose of the PostDoc is to devise an efficient strategy to compute viable rupture scenarios in a probabilistic framework. The physically viable earthquake rupture scenarios and their associated probabilities will be used to compute fault-based seismic hazard in the region.

Depending on progress the candidate PostDoc may also tackle the delicate issue of computing physics-based GMPE’s accounting for source/site and path effects, as a first step towards a comprehensive physics-based approach for seismic hazard estimates.        

Tools: The candidate will use mainly three open-source, user-friendly codes: SeisSol, a code used to study complex earthquakes such as Landers or Kaikoura to model multi-fault rupture propagation;  SHERIFS to explore epistemic uncertainties in multi-rupture scenarios and OPENQUAKE  to compute seismic hazard at selected sites.


Wollherr, Stephanie, Alice-Agnes Gabriel, and Paul Martin Mai (2019), Landers 1992 ”reloaded”: an integrative dynamic earthquake rupture modelJournal of Geophysical Research – Solid Earth124, doi:10.1029/2018JB016355, open-access available at

Ulrich, Thomas, Alice-Agnes Gabriel, Jean-Paul Ampuero, and Wenbin Xu (2019), Dynamic viability of the 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikōura earthquake cascade on weak crustal faultsNature Communications10(1213), doi:10.1038/s41467-019-09125-w


Course coordinator: Paulo B. Lourenco (University of Minho)

After 10 years of European funding, 400 students and 65 countries, applications for the Advanced Masters in Structural Analysis of Monuments and Historical Constructions are opened up to May 20, 2020. This is the leading international course on conservation of heritage structures, winner of the 2017 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage “Europa Nostra”, and a unique opportunity to meet people from all over the world. 

This Master Course, which is running its 13th Edition, is organized by a Consortium of leading European Universities/Research Institutions in the field, composed by University of Minho (coordinating institution, Portugal), the Technical University of Catalonia (Spain), the Czech Technical University in Prague (Czech Republic), the University of Padua (Italy) and the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Czech Republic). 

The course combines the most recent advances in research and development with practical applications.

A significant number of scholarships, ranging from 4,000 to 13,000 Euro, are available to students of any nationality.

Please find full details on the MSc programme, as well as electronic application procedure, on the website

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