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 and GFZ Potsdam. Read more about my project Earth surface response to Quaternary faulting and shallow crustal structure in the eastern Adria-Alpine collision zone and the Friulian plain 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


  • 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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