Christoph Grützner

Christoph Grützner Christoph Grützner Image: Christoph Grützner

Research interests

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 SPP2017External link together with colleagues from RWTH AachenExternal link. Read more about my project Mountainbuilding in the Eastern and Southern Alps - large earthquakes and active faults hereExternal link. I blog about paleoseismology and active tectonics at www.paleoseismicity.orgExternal link.

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


  • 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


  • Obrist-Farner, J., Eckert, A., Douglas, P. M. J., Perez, L., et al. & the LIBRE scientific team (2023). Planning for the Lake Izabal Basin Research Endeavor (LIBRE) continental scientific drilling project in eastern Guatemala. Scientific Drilling 11, 1-6. link
  • Grützner, C., Baize, S., & Papanikolaou, I. (2023). Earthquake Geology and Seismic Hazards: From Earthquake Mapping of Historical and Prehistoric Earthquakes to Paleoseismology. Quaternary International 651, 1-5. link.
  • Diercks, M.-L., Grützner, C., Welte, J. & Ustaszewski, K. (preprint). Challenges and Limits of Remote Sensing of Active Tectonics in the Slowly Deforming Karst Landscape of W Slovenia and Ne Italy. link 
  • Tsai, C. H., Abdrakhmatov, K., Mukambayev, A., Elliott, A. J., Elliott, J. R., Grützner, C., Rhodes, E. J., Ivester, A. H., Walker, R. T. & Wilkinson, R., 2022. Probing the Upper End of Intra-continental Earthquake Magnitude: A Prehistoric Example from the Dzhungarian and Lepsy Faults of Kazakhstan. Tectonics, e2022TC007300. link
  • Diercks, M., Gruetzner, C., Vrabec, M., & Ustaszewski, K., 2022. Addendum to Diercks et al., 2021: A model for the formation of the Pradol (Pradolino) dry valley in W Slovenia and NE Italy. Geologija, 65(1), 93-99. doi:10.5474/geologija.2022.006External link
  • Reicherter, K., Prados, F., Jiménez-Vialás, H., García-Jiménez, I., Feist, L., Val-Peón, C., Höbig, N., Mathes-Schmidt, M., López-Sáez, J. A., Röth, J., Alexiou, S., Silva Barroso, P. G., Cämmerer, C., Borau, L., May, S. M., Kraus, W., Brückner, H. & Gruetzner, C., 2022. The Baelo Claudia Tsunami Archive (SW Spain)-Archaeological Deposits of High-Energy Events. In: Álvarez-Martí-Aguilar, M., Machuca Prieto, F. (eds) Historical Earthquakes, Tsunamis and Archaeology in the Iberian Peninsula. Natural Science in Archaeology. Springer, Singapore. link
  • Dodds, N., Begenjev, G., Bezmenov, Y., Gruetzner, C., Mirzin, R., Rhodes, E., Walker, R. T., & Wordsworth, P., 2022. A Major Medieval Earthquake on the Main Köpetdag (Kopeh Dagh) Fault, Turkmenistan. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, doi: 10.1785/0120210195.External link
  • Chatzipetros, A., Gruetzner, C., & Kranis, H., 2021. Preface: The March 2021 Thessaly Earthquake Sequence. Bulletin of the Geological Society of Greece, 58, i-vii. doi: link
  • Gruetzner, C., Aschenbrenner, S., Jamšek Rupnik, P., Reicherter, K., Saifelislam, N., Vičič, B., Vrabec, M., Welte, J., & Ustaszewski, K., 2021. Holocene surface-rupturing earthquakes on the Dinaric Fault System, western Slovenia. Solid Earth, 12, 2211-2234, link.
  • Walker, R. T., Bezmenov, Y., Begenjev, G., Carolin, S., Dodds, N., Gruetzner, C., Jackson, J. A., Mirzin, R., Mousavi, Z. & Rhodes, E. J., 2021. Slip-rate on the Main Köpetdag (Kopeh Dagh) Strike-slip fault, Turkmenistan, and the active tectonics of the South Caspian. Tectonics, 40, e2021TC006846. link.
  • Diercks, M., Gruetzner, C., Vrabec, M., & Ustaszewski, K. (2021). A model for the formation of the Pradol (Pradolino) dry valley in W Slovenia and NE Italy. Geologija 64/1, 21-33External link.
  • Zebari, M., Preusser, F., Gruetzner, C., Navabpour, P. and Ustaszewski, K., (2021): Late Pleistocene-Holocene slip rates in the Northwestern Zagros Mountains (Kurdistan Region of Iraq) derived from luminescence dating of river terraces and structural modeling. Tectonics, link
  • Lombardo, U., & Gruetzner, C., 2021. Tectonic geomorphology and active faults in the Bolivian Amazon. Global and Planetary Change, 103544External link.
  • Balling, P., Gruetzner, C., Tomljenović, B., Spakman, W. & Ustaszewski, K., 2021. Post-collisional mantle delamination in the Dinarides implied from staircases of Oligo-Miocene uplifted marine terraces. Sci Rep 11, 2685External link.
  • 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 GeologyExternal link, 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. GeosciencesExternal link 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 GeologyExternal link, 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 SeismologyExternal link, link.
  • 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. GeosciencesExternal link. 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. TectonicsExternal link 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 EarthExternal link, 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 InternationalExternal link 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 InternationalExternal link, 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 ResearchExternal link, 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 LettersExternal link, 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. TectonicsExternal link 36(10), 2192-2226, doi:External link10.1002/2017TC004657.
  • 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, 95-132External link.
  • 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. GeomorphologyExternal link, 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 InternationalExternal link 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 LettersExternal link. 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 ClaudiaExternal link [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 GreeceExternal link, 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 EarthExternal link, 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, 1662-1677External link.
  • 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.External link 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 EarthExternal link, 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 ReviewsExternal link 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. GeologyExternal link, 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 GeologyExternal link, 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 GeophysicsExternal link 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 GeomorfologíaExternal link 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 GeophysicsExternal link 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 IssuesExternal link, 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 HazardsExternal link, 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.External link, 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). TectonophysicsExternal link, 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.External link 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 GeophysicsExternal link 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. GeowissExternal link 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 InternationalExternal link, 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,External link 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. BiogeosciencesExternal link, 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.External link, 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 GeomorphologieExternal link 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 GeomorphologieExternal link 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 PublicationsExternal link, 316, 93-121. DOI: 10.1144/SP316.6