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PhD on the topic 'Landslides in Rwanda: risk factors and societal impacts' (M/F)

This offer is available in the following languages:
Français - Anglais

Date Limite Candidature : mercredi 25 mai 2022

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General information

Reference : UMR6118-MARJOL-002
Workplace : RENNES
Date of publication : Wednesday, May 4, 2022
Scientific Responsible name : Jolivet Marc / ARVOR Damien
Type of Contract : PhD Student contract / Thesis offer
Contract Period : 36 months
Start date of the thesis : 1 September 2022
Proportion of work : Full time
Remuneration : 2 135,00 € gross monthly

Description of the thesis topic

Understanding the factors of activation and control of the kinetics of gravity landslides (seismic shock, slope, precipitation, deforestation, soil degradation) is a major challenge for risk management which requires an innovative interdisciplinary approach coupling joint analysis ecosystems (climate, vegetation, soils and agricultural practices), geology (faults, substratum, geomorphology) and societies (density, habitat, vulnerability).
In Rwanda, the most densely populated country in Africa (500 ha/km2), the humid climate, the steep slopes, the seismicity associated with the East African rift and the intense deforestation linked to agricultural activity generate a major gravity hazard . If hazard maps exist, the monitoring of active landslides and the characterization of risk are non-existent. Yet they have a major impact on infrastructure, agriculture and therefore the economy and populations. It is essential, in the current context of deforestation, advanced soil degradation and a dense population, to document the long-term behavior of active landslides and to assess the associated risks in order to propose remediation or minimization solutions. anthropogenic impacts.
Our interdisciplinary approach will mobilize remote sensing, geomorphology, seismology, climatology and population surveys to monitor the dynamics of landslides on two study sites with different physical and anthropogenic characteristics. On each site, a detailed mapping of landslides will be carried out using satellite imagery detection methods for changes in land use developed at LETG and geomorphological field mapping. The activity of the main landslides and the evolution of their environment will be monitored by recurrent mapping by drones and GPS measurement campaigns to assess the characteristic creep speeds. Finally, a survey of the populations will make it possible to establish a chronology of the triggers and an initial assessment of their impact on the anthropized systems. The “participatory science” component will allow residents to permanently report any significant movement. These chronological data will be compared with climate and seismicity data obtained in existing catalogs (NOAA, Copernicus ERA5-Land, CHIRPS, USGS and KivuSNet).
These data will make it possible to characterize landslides, quantify the associated risks and assess the means of protection or environmental practices to be developed, leading to projects combining Earth Sciences, Environmental Sciences and Human Sciences.

Work Context

The thesis will take place in collaboration between the Geosciences Rennes laboratories (Rennes 1 University - Beaulieu Campus) and LETG (Rennes 2 University - Villejean Campus). The doctoral student will be based mainly at Geosciences Rennes but will have to move to the LETG. Geosciences Rennes is a very multidisciplinary Earth science laboratory with a strong dynamic in geomorphology, geochemistry, paleo-environment, hydrology and structural geology. LETG's activities are positioned in the field of environmental geography with a strong involvement in nature/society interactions.
The doctoral student will be welcomed into the Endorheic Systems team of Geosciences Rennes, currently composed of 7 researchers and two doctoral students. He/she will be supervised at Geosciences by M. Jolivet (DR-CNRS - geomorphology - paleoenvironment) in collaboration with O. Dauteuil (DR-CNRS - structural geology - geodesy); at LETG by D. Arvor (CR-CNRS - remote sensing applied to land use) in collaboration with S. Corgne (Professor - University. Rennes 2 - Remote sensing applied to agricultural practices). As part of his/her thesis work, the doctoral student may be involved in the supervision of Master 1 or 2 trainees.
A significant part of the work will be devoted to field studies (instrumentation of landslides, geomorphological and geological mapping, interactions with local populations).

Additional Information

The candidate must hold a Master's degree in Earth Sciences or in Remote Sensing applied to Earth Sciences. He/she must have in-depth knowledge of geological and geomorphological mapping or remote sensing. Basic knowledge of geodesy and seismic will be appreciated but not essential. A good ability to work in the field in difficult conditions (slopes, heavy rainfall, heat) is essential. A good aptitude for contact with local populations is also essential (good interpersonal skills, good listening skills) to carry out the "participatory science" aspect of the project. As such, knowledge of Swahili would be appreciated but not essential.
The candidate must also be fluent in English (read, spoken, written) and in particular scientific English. As the project is very multidisciplinary, good skills in teamwork, report writing, communication and popularization of results are essential.

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