Christoph Grützner


Research interests

Christoph Grützner Image: Christoph Grützner

I study crustal deformation and past earthquakes using geophysical, geological, and remote sensing techniques with a focus on paleoseismology and tectonic geomorphology. My study areas comprised extensional settings like Germany, USA, Spain, Peru, and Greece, and areas of active shortening in Central Asia. I am also interested in tsunami studies and archaeogeophysics. Currently I am investigating active faulting in the Alps in the framework of SPP2017 together with colleagues from RWTH Aachen. Read more about my project Mountainbuilding in the Eastern and Southern Alps - large earthquakes and active faults here. I blog about paleoseismology and active tectonics at

Looking for a BSc. or MSc. thesis in tectonics/earthquakes/geomorphology? I have lots of interesting topics. Drop me a mail:


  • since 2017-06: Postdoctoral researcher, FSU Jena
  • 2014-05: Postdoctoral researcher, University of Cambridge
  • 2011-10: Postdoctoral researcher, RWTH Aachen University
  • 2006-02: PhD student, RWTH Aachen University

University education

  • 2011: Dr. rer. nat., RWTH Aachen University
  • 2006: Diploma in Geophysics, Leipzig University

Scientific Activities


  • 2019: Hermann-Credner Prize of the DGGV for outstanding junior scientists
  • 2015: National Research Award of The Research Council, Sultanate of Oman, for the best research in the Environment and Biological resources sector
  • 2013: Borchers-Plakette for dissertation 'summa cum laude', RWTH Aachen
  • 2012: Heitfeld-Preis of the Karl-Heinrich-Heitfeld Foundation for an excellent dissertation in the field of geosciences, RWTH Aachen


  • Zebari, M., Balling, P., Gruetzner, C., Navabpour, P., Witte, J., & Ustaszewski, K., 2020. Structural style of the NW Zagros Mountains and the role of basement thrusting for its Mountain Front Flexure, Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Journal of Structural Geology, 104206, doi:10.1016/j.jsg.2020.104206.
  • Viscolani, A., Gruetzner, C., Diercks, M., Reicherter, K., & Ustaszewski, K., 2020. Late Quaternary Tectonic Activity of the Udine-Buttrio Thrust, Friulian Plain, NE Italy. Geosciences 10(2), 84, doi:10.3390/geosciences10020084.
  • Hoffmann, G., Gruetzner, C., Schneider, B., Preusser, F., & Reicherter, K., 2020. Large Holocene tsunamis in the northern Arabian Sea. Marine Geology, 419, 106068.
  • Rodríguez-Pascua, M. A., Benavente Escobar, C. L., Guevara, R., Gruetzner, C., Audin, L.,  Walker, R., García, B. & Aguirre, E., 2019. Did earthquakes strike Machu Picchu? Journal of Seismology,
  • Gruetzner, C., Walker, R., Ainscoe, E., Elliott, E., & Abdrakhmatov, K., 2019. Earthquake environmental effects of the 1992 M7.3 Suusamyr Earthquake, Kyrgyzstan, and their implications for paleo-earthquake studies. Geosciences. 9(6), 271.
  • Gruetzner, C., Campbell, G., Walker, R.T., Jackson, J., Mackenzie, D., Abdrakhmatov, K., & Mukambayev, A., 2019. Shortening accommodated by thrust and strike‐slip faults in the Ili Basin, northern Tien Shan. Tectonics 38(7), 2255-2274.
  • Zebari, M., Gruetzner, C., Navabpour, P., and Ustaszewski, K., 2019. Relative Timing of Uplift along the Zagros Mountain Front Flexure Constrained by Geomorphic Indices and Landscape Modelling, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Solid Earth, 10, 663-682.
  • Ainscoe, E. A., Abdrakhmatov, K. E., Baikulov, S., Carr, A. S., Elliott, A. J., Gruetzner, C., Walker, R. T., 2019. Variability in surface rupture between successive earthquakes on the Suusamyr Fault, Kyrgyz Tien Shan: implications for palaeoseismology. Geophysical Journal International 216(1) 703-725.
  • Mackenzie, D., Walker, R., Abdrakhmatov, K., Campbell, G., Carr, A., Grützner, C., Mukambaev, A., & Rizza, M., 2018. A Creeping Intracontinental Thrust Fault: Past and Present Slip-Rates on the Northern Edge of the Tien Shan, Kazakhstan. Geophysical Journal International, 215(2), 1148-1170.
  • Sprafke, T., Fitzsimmons, K. E., Gruetzner, C., Elliott, A., Marquer, L., & Nigmatova, S., 2018. Reevaluation of Late Pleistocene loess profiles at Remizovka (Kazakhstan) indicates the significance of topography in evaluating terrestrial paleoclimate records. Quaternary Research, doi:10.1017/qua.2017.103.
  • Copley, A., Gruetzner, C., Howell, A., Jackson, J., Penney, C., & Wimpenny, S., 2018. Unexpected earthquake hazard revealed by Holocene rupture on the Kenchreai Fault (central Greece): Implications for weak sub-fault shear zones. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2018.01.014. OPEN ACCESS!
  • Gruetzner, C., Walker, R. T., Abdrakhmatov, K. E., Mukambaev, A., Elliott, A. J., & Elliott, J. R., 2017. Active tectonics around Almaty and along the Zailisky Alatau rangefront. Tectonics 36(10), 2192-2226, doi:10.1002/2017TC004657.
  • Gruetzner, C., & Wiatr, T., 2017. Non-invasive techniques in archaeoseismology. In: Jusseret, S., & Sintubin, M. (eds.) Minoan Earthquakes: Breaking the Myth through Interdisciplinarity. Studies in Archaeological Sciences, Leuven University Press, Leuven, 95-132.
  • Mackens, S., Klitzsch, N., Gruetzner, C., & Klinger, R., 2017. Quaternary sediment architecture in the Orkhon Valley (central Mongolia) inferred from capacitive coupled resistivity and Georadar measurements. Geomorphology, doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2017.05.002.
  • Blumetti, A. M., Gruetzner, C., Guerrieri, L., & Livio, F., 2017. Quaternary earthquakes: Geology and palaeoseismology for seismic hazard assessment. Quaternary International 451, 1-10, doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2017.04.002.
  • Gruetzner, C., Carson, E., Walker, R. T., Rhodes, E. J., Mukambayev, A., Mackenzie, D., Elliott, J. R., Campbell, G. E. & Abdrakhmatov, K., 2017. Assessing the activity of faults in continental interiors: palaeoseismic insights from SE Kazakhstan. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2016.11.025. OPEN ACCESS!
  • Silva, P. G., Reicherter, K., Giner-Robles, J. L., Rodríguez-Pascua, M. Á., Grützner, C., García-Jiménez, I., Carrasco García, P. & Pérez-Lópezd, R. (2016). Arqueosismología del Conjunto Arqueológico Romano de Baelo Claudia (Cádiz, Sur de España): estado de la cuestión. Actas de las II Jornadas Internacionales de Baelo Claudia [PDF]: nuevas investigaciones, 14, 63-91.
  • Pallikarakis A., Papanikolaou, I., Triantaphyllou, M., Gruetzner, C., Migiros, G., Reicherter, K., Mason, J., & Schneiderwind, S., 2016. Magnetic susceptibility changes correlated with paleoenvironmental and lithological changes, within borehole cores on either sides of the Kalamaki-Isthmia Fault in Corinth Canal. Bulletin of the Geological Society of Greece, 50, 104-113.
  • Kettermann, M., von Hagke, C., van Gent, H. W., Gruetzner, C., Urai, J. L. 2016. Dilatant normal faulting in jointed cohesive rocks: a physical model study. Solid Earth, 7, 843-856, 2016. OPEN ACCESS!
  • Gruetzner, C., Fischer, P., & Reicherter, K., 2016. Holocene surface ruptures of the Rurrand Fault, Germany-insights from palaeoseismology, remote sensing and shallow geophysics. Geophys. J. Int. 204, 1662-1677.
  • Gruetzner, C., Schneiderwind, S., Papanikolaou, I., Deligiannakis, G., Pallikarakis, A., & Reicherter, K., 2016. New constraints on extensional tectonics and seismic hazard in northern Attica, Greece - the case of the Milesi Fault. Geophys. J. Int. 204, 180-199.
  • Kettermann, M., Gruetzner, C., van Gent, H., Urai, J., Reicherter, K. & Mertens, J., 2015. Evolution of a highly dilatant fault zone in the grabens of Canyonlands National Park, Utah, USA - integrating fieldwork, ground-penetrating radar and airborne imagery analysis. Solid Earth, 6, 839-855. OPEN ACCESS!
  • Hoffmann, G., Gruetzner, C., Reicherter, K., Preusser, F., 2014. Geo-archaeological evidence for a Holocene extreme flooding event within the Arabian Sea (Ras al Hadd, Oman). Quaternary Science Reviews 113, 123-133, 10.1016/j.quascirev.2014.09.033.
  • Hoffmann, G., Al-Yahyai, S., Naeem, G., Kociok, M., Gruetzner, C., 2014. An Indian Ocean tsunami triggered remotely by an onshore earthquake in Balochistan, Pakistan. Geology, G35756-1.
  • Koster, B., Hoffmann, G., Gruetzner, C., Reicherter, K., 2014. Ground penetrating radar facies of inferred tsunami deposits on the shores of the Arabian Sea (Northern Indian Ocean). Marine Geology, 351, 13-24, DOI: 10.1016/j.margeo.2014.03.002.
  • Gruetzner, C., Barba, S., Papanikolaou, I.,Pérez-López, R., 2013. Earthquake geology: science, society and critical facilities. Annals of Geophysics 56, 6, S0683; doi:10.4401/ag-6503. OPEN ACCESS!
  • Gruetzner, C., Ruano, P., Jabaloy, A., Galindo-Zaldívar, J., Becker-Heidmann, P., Sanz de Galdeano, C., Rudersdorf, A., Reicherter, K., 2013. Late Holocene rupture history of the Ventas de Zafarraya Fault (Southern Spain). Cuaternario y Geomorfología 27(3-4), 52-61. OPEN ACCESS!
  • Hürtgen, J., Rudersdorf, A., Gruetzner, C., Reicherter, K., 2013. Morphotectonics of the Padul-Nigüelas Fault Zone, Southern Spain. Annals of Geophysics 56, 6, S0679; doi:10.4401/ag-6208. OPEN ACCESS!
  • Hoffmann, G., Rupprechter, M., Al Balushi, N., Gruetzner, C., Reicherter, K., 2013: The impact of the 1945 Makran tsunami along the coastlines of the Arabian Sea (Northern Indian Ocean) - a review. Zeitschrift fuer Geomorphologie Supplementary Issues, 57 (4), 257-277. DOI:10.1127/0372-8854/2013/S-00134
  • Hoffmann, G., Reicherter, K., Wiatr, T., Gruetzner, C., Rausch, T., 2013. Block and boulder accumulations along the coastline between Fins and Sur (Sultanate of Oman): tsunamigenic remains? Natural Hazards, 65, 851-873, DOI:10.1007/s11069-012-0399-7.
  • Gruetzner, C., Bemmann, J., Berking, J., Frechen, M., Klinger, R., Klitzsch, N., Linzen, S., Mackens, S., Oczipka, M., Piezonka, H., Reichert, S., Schneider, M., Schuett, B., 2012. Improving archaeological site analysis: a rampart in the middle Orkhon Valley investigated with combined geoscience techniques. J. Geophys. Eng., 9, S70-S80. OPEN ACCESS!
  • Gruetzner, C., Reicherter, K., Huebscher, C., Silva, P.G., 2012: Active faulting and neotectonics in the Baelo Claudia area, Campo de Gibraltar (southern Spain). Tectonophysics, 554-557, 127-142.
  • Hoffmann, N., Reicherter, K., Gruetzner, C., Huertgen, J., Rudersdorf, A., Viehberg, F.A., Wessels, M., 2012. Quaternary coastline evolution of Lake Ohrid (Macedonia/Albania). Cent. Eur. J. Geosci. 4(1), 94-110, DOI: 10.2478/s13533-011-0063-x.
  • Vadillo, I., Benavente, J., Neukum, C., Gruetzner, C., Carrasco, F., Azzam, R., Linan, C., Reicherter, K., 2012. Surface Geophysics and borehole inspection as an aid to characterizing karst voids and vadose ventilation patterns (Nerja research site, S. Spain). Journal of Applied Geophysics 82, 153-162. DOI: 10.1016/j.jappgeo.2012.03.006
  • Reicherter, K., Hoffmann, N., Lindhorst, K., Krastel, S., Fernandez-Steeger, T.M., Gruetzner, C., Wiatr, T., 2011. Active basins and neotectonics: morphotectonics of the Lake Ohrid Basin (FYROM and Albania). Z. dt. Ges. Geowiss 162 (2), 217 -234. OPEN ACCESS!
  • Fernandez-Steeger, T., Gruetzner, C., Reicherter, K., Schaub, A., 2011. Aquisgrani terrae motus factus est (part 1): The Aachen cathedral (Germany) built on weak ground? Quaternary International, 242-1, 138-148, doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2011.05.004.
  • Reicherter, K., Schaub, A., Fernandez-Steeger, T., Gruetzner, C., Kohlberger-Schaub, T., 2011. Aquisgrani terrae motus factus est (part 2): Evidence for medieval earthquake damage in the Aachen Cathedral (Germany). Quaternary International, 242-1, 149-157, doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2011.05.006.
  • Hoffmann, N., Reicherter, K., Fernandez-Steeger, T., Gruetzner, C., 2010. Evolution of ancient Lake Ohrid: a tectonic perspective. Biogeosciences, 7, 3377-3386. doi:10.5194/bg-7-3377-2010. OPEN ACCESS!
  • Gruetzner, C., Reicherter, K., Silva, P.G., 2010. Comparing semiquantitative logic trees for archaeoseismology and palaeoseismology: The Baelo Claudia (southern Spain) case study. GSA Spec. Vol., 471: 129-143
  • Reicherter, K., Vonberg, D., Koster B., Fernandez-Steeger T., Gruetzner C., Mathes-Schmidt, M., 2010. The sedimentary inventory of the 1755 Lisbon tsunami along the southern Gulf of Cádiz (southwestern Spain). Zeitschrift fuer Geomorphologie Vol. 54, Suppl. 3, 147-173
  • Reicherter, K., Papanikolaou, I., Roger, J., Mathes-Schmidt, M., Papanikolaou, D., Roessler, S., Gruetzner, C., Stamatis, G., 2010. Holocene tsunamigenic sediments and tsunami modelling in the Thermaikos Gulf area (northern Greece). Zeitschrift fuer Geomorphologie Vol. 54, Suppl. 3, 99-126
  • Silva P.G., Reicherter K., Gruetzner C., Bardaji T., Lario J., Goy J.L., Zazo C., Becker-Heidmann P., 2009. Surface and subsurface paleoseismic records at the ancient Roman city of Baelo Claudia and the Bolonia Bay area, Cadiz (South Spain). In: Reicherter, K., Michetti, A.M. & Silva, P. G. (eds) Palaeoseismology: Historical and Prehistorical Records of Earthquake Ground Effects for Seismic Hazard Assessment. The Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 316, 93-121. DOI: 10.1144/SP316.6
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