Ongoing Ph.D. Cycles

  • 39° Cycle: 2023-2026
  • 38° Cycle: 2022-2025
  • 37° Cycle: 2021-2024
  • 36° Cycle: 2020-2023

Geomorphological mapping on emerged and submerged lacustrine features and on alluvial landforms in a semi-natural environment

The research theme focuses on the study, recognition and mapping of lacustrine features both emerged and submerged and of drainage networks connected to them and subject to strong anthropization. The study case is the Trasimeno Lake (Umbria, central Italy) and the fluvial network with the adductors and emissaries connected to it.

The results will be used to update the legend of the Italian Geomorphological Map at a scale of 1:50.000 and the relative Geomorphological Database.

Exploratory Data Analysis in Petrology and Volcanology

Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA) is a statistical approach that support the identification of hidden patterns in data to provide meaningful information (Hodeghatta & Nayak, 2023). EDA can help identify trends, relationships, and anomalies in data that may not be immediately apparent. EDA is not new (Tukey, 1977), however, the possible use of new data-driven techniques (Godec et al., 2019) and the recent development of user-friendly tools (Demšar et al., 2013) makes EDA an effective tool in petrology and volcanology. We accept proposals aiming at developing EDA tools in petrology and combining them with traditional techniques in petrology and volcanology to solve relevant problems.

The geochemistry of fluids in tectonically active regions, for the study of carbon cycle and seismicity

Tectonically active regions are frequently characterized by large-scale expulsion deep fluids, since faults and crustal-scale shear zones are preferential pathways for their migrations. Among these fluids CO2 is of special interest for its role in the global C-cycle and its connections with the climate, and especially for its potential role in the seismogenetic process. Geochemical studies have shown variations of CO2 emission associated with earthquakes suggesting non-casual relationships between the two phenomena. The study of the geochemistry of the fluids and its spatial-temporal evolution, of the geochemical processes determining their chemical-isotopic composition and of the water- gas-rock interactions, may represent a crucial aspect toward a better

comprehension of the Earth degassing, of the seismogenetic process, and for the development of new approaches and techniques of seismic monitoring. In particular studies on easily detectable-parameters can represent the next frontiers for the development of monitoring networks.

Implement forecasting models for the management of groundwater resources of carbonate aquifers in the context of climatic variations

The project aims to design a comprehensive workflow to analyze and predict spring discharges and their dependence on climate change. A stochastic–analytical modelling approach combined with lumped model will be applied to springs fed by carbonate aquifers with different degrees of karstification and fracturing and different geologic and structural setting. These springs are exploited for drinking water supply, and the discharges have been continuously monitored since at least 30 years. The spring discharge time series will be predicted based on forecasted rainfall/temperature time series derived from regional climate model projections. Understanding springs’ behavior can guide management bodies to adopt correct practices to prevent the negative effects of droughts and to evaluate better the vulnerability of groundwater and the sustainability of ecosystems dependent on it.

Fault-driven geothermal systems in central Italy: a multidisciplinary approach

Fluid flow in tectonically active areas is mainly controlled by fault zones. Faults largely define the structure of geothermal systems and their permeability and allow the migration of fluids from deep geothermal systems to shallow aquifers. At the meantime, fluids can change the physical characteristics of host rocks, in particular permeability and porosity, through precipitation/dissolution reactions. In this PhD project the relationships between the geometry, kinematics and permeability of fault zones and the potential of geothermal systems in central Italy will be studied using a multidisciplinary approach based on the comparison between surface geological data, geophysical and geochemical data. Special attention will be paid to medium- low enthalpy systems, which represent a clean, renewable and widespread source of energy in much of central Italy. The project will also consider an evaluation of the possible induced/triggered seismicity and the related mitigation strategies.

Sedimentary record of Quaternary basins in Central Italy: a key for understanding active tectonic structures and environmental changes

The Quaternary sedimentary successions are fundamental chronological tools to identify the spatial-temporal evolution of active tectonics, to unravel the recent faults activity rates. In addition, they represent a unique paleo-environmental record of climatic changes through time. The project will be developed by integrating surface data, subsurface data (direct and indirect) and both absolute and relative dating taking as case study the sedimentary record of some basins in central Italy with the aim of characterizing the basin-bounding faults activity rates and the climatic and paleo-environmental conditions.

The PhD in “Earth System and Global Change” is focused on issues concerning climate change, planetology, strategies for mitigating natural and/or anthropogenic risks, the demand for natural resources, the valorization of the geological, paleontological and landscape heritage, and environmental sustainability. This mission is also pursued by offering young generations high-level research training opportunities, both nationally and internationally. The activity of the course and its training program rest above all on the experience and qualifications of the members of the Board, whose research has constantly ensured the attraction of funds assigned on a competitive basis, both of a national (e.g., PRIN, PNRA PROGETTO DI ECCELLENZA DIPARTIMENTALE 2023-2027) and international (e.g., ITN, ERC) scales. PhD students can also benefit from the numerous collaborations with qualified international academic and research institutions, with Italian public research institutes (e.g., CNR, INGV, OGS ASI) and with other public (e.g., ENEA, ISPRA, ARPA-Umbria, SABAP-Umbria, etc.) and private (e.g., ENI, ENEL, COLACEM, TIM, etc.) partners.

The PhD in “Earth System and Global Change” trains experts with a high technical-scientific profile, capable of entering various occupational fields, both in the public and private sectors. The up-to-date and innovative skills, characteristic of this doctoral course, based on a distinctly interdisciplinary approach, will further increase the opportunities for the placement of new doctors in various fields, such as: national and international academic and research institutions working on Earth Sciences; government agencies that require researchers capable of supporting management decisions and policies to address some of the major environmental problems that modern society is facing today, also with a view to increasing interaction between operators and local communities (social licenses); public bodies and companies involved in (1) land management and geological risk mitigation, (2) sourcing, modeling and management of georesources, (3) sustainable production of mineral and energy resources, and (4) study, protection and enhancement of landscape and cultural heritage..

The training activity of the PhD has its core in the research project carried out by the individual doctoral students, who will be strongly encouraged to personalize their training program, in order to achieve the best possible training in their elective research sector.

To better support the construction of this training program, the PhD makes available the best teaching/research resources available within the Board and in the universities and international research centers with which the Board maintains research collaborations, also by planning and activating a series of educational activities (courses, schools, and seminars).

Every year, the PhD Board approves a training program made up of courses, schools and seminars.

The courses are specifically designed for the PhD in "Earth System and Global Changes" and are preferentially aimed at PhD students. They are held by members of the PhD Board and/or national and international researchers with whom the Board members have scientific relations. Upon request, based on the places available, the courses can be attended by students from other Italian and foreign PhD programs. The courses generally provide for practical activities alongside the theoretical ones. The courses include a final test. Schools are open to both PhD students and other participants (e.g., undergraduates or other). Participation in courses and schools is optional (with the exception of the course reported below), in relation, for example, to the link between the topic of the course/school and that of the project of the single PhD student.

The seminars are organized in number of 6-8 per cycle and are held by qualified Italian and foreign researchers, on issues relating to those of the PhD. The seminars usually take place in the months of January-April. PhD students are required to follow at least 75% of the seminars for the acquisition of 3 CFU.

As part of the 30 mandatory CFUs that each PhD student must acquire, 9 CFUs are dedicated to a multidisciplinary course on the themes of the PhD (Earth System and Global Changes). Participation in this course is mandatory for all PhD students (at the first or second year).

A stay in one or more foreign structures (university, research centers or other high qualification institutions) of at least 6 months (even non-continuous) is strongly recommended for all PhD students (mandatory for some types of scholarships; e.g., PNRR, PON).

The PhD promotes participation in courses on transversal topics organized by other PhD programs of the University of Perugia or other Italian and foreign universities, especially if of a multidisciplinary, transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary nature.

PhD students have the opportunity to participate in foreign language courses at the University Language Center (CLA) with a 6-month or annual duration. The language courses can be carried out, of choice of the student, over the three years, but the CFU achieved do not contribute to the achievement of the 30 CFUs that the PhD students must compulsorily obtain with the training program. The periods of training abroad, strongly recommended for all PhD students, contribute to the strengthening of language skills.

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