Earthquakes, disasters and resilience

Earthquake damage geotechnical engineering research

World-leading research into earthquakes, disasters and resilience is being conducted by staff and students throughout UC.

Psychology researchers have conducted numerous earthquake/disaster related studies since the Christchurch and Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 and Japan's massive earthquake in 2011. PhD student and UC Quake Centre scholarship recipient Royce Liu is progressing steadily with his research into improving the performance of bridge structures under seismic loading. Engineering Professor Brendon Bradley was awarded the 2016 Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize, which included $150,000 for further research.

An important role for the UC Quake Centre is conducting and co-ordinating research, and helping to ensure the findings reach the most appropriate audiences.

Research strengths

Areas of current research in earthquake resilience include:

  • Ground motion simulation
  • Liquefaction impacts on infrastructure
  • Heritage, safety and economics: addressing earthquake-prone buildings
  • Next-generation infrastructure: low-damage and repairable solutions
  • Pathways to improved resilience
  • Spatially-distributed infrastructure

Research centres and groups

Researchers and supervisors

Staff actively working in these areas are:

Ken Elwood
Brendon Bradley
Misko Cubrinovski
Nick Horspool
Jason Ingham
David Johnston
Erica Seville
Liam Wotherspoon

Brendon Bradley

Professor in Earthquake Engineering
Director of QuakeCoRE
Civil & Natural Resources Engineering E304
Internal Phone: 92156

Misko Cubrinovski

Professor
Civil & Natural Resources Engineering E444
Internal Phone: 92098

Areas of current research in natural and geological hazards include:

  • The vulnerability of high voltage electrical distribution systems exposed to volcanic ashfall hazards
  • Prediction of size, location and runout of large coseismic rock avalanches and volcanic debris avalanches
  • Mechanics of fragmentation and rock friction: blockslides and faulting
  • Mechanics of landslide dam breaching
  • River aggradation and flooding from large mass movements
  • Earthquake-induced flooding and aggradation on alluvial fans in Westland
  • Paleoseismicity of active faults in the plate boundary deformation zone
  • Fault-specific and regional seismic hazard assessment
  • Seismic hazard assessment of Canterbury fault propagation folds
  • Volcanic debris avalanches

Research centres and groups

Researchers and supervisors

Staff actively working in these areas are:

David Bell

Senior Lecturer
Engineering & Mining Geology
West 327
Internal Phone: 94490

Jim Cole

Research Associate
Volcanology & Volcanic Hazards
West 322
Internal Phone: 94492

Tim Davies

Professor
Natural Hazards
West 322
Internal Phone: 94508

Darren Gravley

Associate Professor
Volcanology and Geothermal Systems
West 319
Internal Phone: 94489

Ben Kennedy

Associate Professor
Physical Volcanology
West 321
Internal Phone: 94437

Jarg Pettinga

Professor
Engineering and Structural Geology
West 325
Internal Phone: 94491

Tom Wilson

Associate Professor
Disaster Risk and Resilience
West 326
Internal Phone: 94503

Deirdre Hart

Senior Lecturer
Geography Rm 402
Internal Phone: 94062

Wendy Lawson

Amorangi Pūtaiao
Pro-Vice-Chancellor - Science
Okeover 120
Internal Phone: 94113

Brendon Bradley

Professor in Earthquake Engineering
Director of QuakeCoRE
Civil & Natural Resources Engineering E304
Internal Phone: 92156

Misko Cubrinovski

Professor
Civil & Natural Resources Engineering E444
Internal Phone: 92098

Gregory MacRae

Associate Professor
On sabbatical until Jan 2020
Civil & Natural Resources Engineering E408
Internal Phone: 92068

Allan Scott

Associate Professor
Civil & Natural Resources Engineering E446C
Internal Phone: 92089

Areas of current in risk, resilience and renewal include:

  • Organisational resilience and recovery
  • Service provider response
  • Financial recovery 
  • Human Resource Management - leadership and management, post-disaster recovery and management 
  • Law and Policy - natural disasters 
  • Tourism - short-term and long-term impacts, recovery

Research centres and groups

Researchers and supervisors

Staff actively working in these areas are:

Tim Davies

Professor
Natural Hazards
West 322
Internal Phone: 94508

Joana R C Kuntz

Associate Professor
Director of Applied Psychology
Psychology 201
Internal Phone: 94397

Tom Wilson

Associate Professor
Disaster Risk and Resilience
West 326
Internal Phone: 94503

Areas of current research in hazard and disaster management include:

  • Social resilience - animals, people and community
  • Emergency management planning
  • Volcanic hazards assessment and mitigation
  • Communication in emergency management
  • Mass movement hazards and mitigation
  • Hazard and vulnerability assessments
  • Land use planning for hazard mitigation

Research centres and groups

Researchers and supervisors

Staff actively working in these areas are:

Tim Davies

Professor
Natural Hazards
West 322
Internal Phone: 94508