Open Position


PhD position in petrology and isotope geochemistry of high-pressure rocks at the University of Fribourg/Freiburg (Switzerland)

Project: Iron isotope fractionation and geochemical cycling in Variscan eclogites during subduction zone metamorphism

The position is fully funded for 3 years by the Swiss National Science Foundation and is paid according to Swiss standards for PhD fellowships.
Starting Date: 1st august 2018 or as agreed.
Supervision: Dr. Afifé Marie Thérèse El Korh and Prof. Bernard Grobéty

Research topic
High-pressure terrains provide evidence for a complex metamorphic history and various stages of fluid–rock interactions during subduction and exhumation of ancient oceanic lithosphere. Devolatilisation reactions in the hydrothermally altered oceanic crust release large amounts of fluids and volatiles, which may generate significant mass transfer from the subducted crust to the overlying mantle wedge and, thus, may be source of compositional and isotopic heterogeneities in the mantle.

Non-traditional Fe stable isotopes were recently employed as tracers of mass transfer processes, because of the strong sensitivity of Fe isotope fractionation to changes in redox conditions during magmatic and hydrothermal processes. The proposed study combines petrology, bulk rock and mineral geochemistry and stable isotope geochemistry (Fe, O), with the aim to characterise geochemical cycling during fluid-rock interactions related to subduction zone metamorphism in the high-pressure rocks (eclogites, paragneiss) from the Munchberg massif (Bohemian Massif, Germany). The proposed work will contribute to our knowledge on oceanic crust recycling, metasomatic mass transfer and deep mantle hydration in palaeo-subduction zones, with inferred consequences for the Fe isotopic composition of igneous rocks and bulk Earth mantle. The research will be carried out at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) and includes collaborations with the Universities of Bern, Geneva, Lausanne (Switzerland), and Erlangen-Nurnberg (Germany).

Requested background and skills
We seek a highly motivated and enthusiastic person with a strong knowledge and interest in metamorphic petrology and isotope geochemistry. Applicants should hold a Master's degree or equivalent in Earth Sciences at the time of the appointment.
Ability to work independently, as well as for teamwork, is required. Practical experience in microscopy and laboratory techniques (ICP-MS or SIMS, SEM, electron microprobe, etc.) is highly desirable. 

Good command of English (written and spoken) is required.
Good communication skills in German and/or French are highly desirable.

Requested documents
Curriculum Vitae
Motivation letter
Name and contact information of at least 2 referees
Summary of Master work and, if possible, PDF file of the Master thesis

Contact and further information (preferably by e-mail)
Dr. Afifé Marie Thérèse El Korh
Unit of Earth Sciences / Department of Geosciences Faculty of Sciences and Medicine / Section Science 

University of Fribourg
Chemin du Musée, 6
CH-1700 Fribourg
Tel: 0041 26 300 89 45
E-mail: afife.elkorh(at)

The deadline for application is 15.05.18, but the position will remain open until it is filled.
The University of Fribourg is a bilingual French and German speaking university. It offers the opportunity to work in a convivial and multilingual environment in the heart of Switzerland.

Please send the complete application as a single PDF file (with the exception of the Master thesis) to Dr. Afifé El Korh (afife.elkorh(at)

Unit of Earth Sciences - Chemin du Musée 6 - 1700 Fribourg - Tel +41 26 / 300 89 70
nicole.bruegger[at] - Swiss University