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Professor Mark W. Stirling

Mark StirlingBSc, MSc (University of Otago), PhD (University of Nevada Reno)

  • Multidisciplinary seismic hazard modelling
  • Seismotectonics
  • Earthquake statistics
  • Tectonic geomorphology

Email: mark.stirling@otago.ac.nz
Phone: 64 3 470 3539

Research interests

Mark is a seismologist with a multidisciplinary background in geology and seismology. He specialises in the integration of geological, seismological and geodetic datasets for seismotectonic and seismic hazard modelling. He moved to his present position at Otago in February 2016, and prior to that was a Principal Scientist at GNS Science. He has led the development of the last three versions of the national seismic hazard model for New Zealand (1998, 2002 and 2012), which is the hazard basis for the New Zealand Loadings Standard. He has worked extensively in industry-funded projects in the building construction, hydroelectric power, nuclear, and development aid sectors, and is widely recognised for his pioneering collaborative work with US colleagues on the use of historical and geological observations to validate seismic hazard models. He currently contributes to the development of national seismic and volcanic hazard models in New Zealand, applying the unifying principles of hazard modelling to these disparate perils. He has been the recipient of two Otto Glogau Awards from the New Zealand Society of Earthquake Engineering for his publications, was Society President for the period 2004-2006, and was made a Fellow of the Society in 2007. He is currently an Associate Editor for the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, and has served on oversight committees for the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation over the period 2009-12.

Research news

To find out about the latest activities of the Earthquake Science Chair and working group, go to the following:

Postgraduate opportunity: PhD in strong motion seismology

We are currently seeking a suitable individual to undertake a Ph.D. on ground motion simulations for Dunedin city from large local earthquakes. The project will comprise the following three stages over 2017-19: (1) geological/geophysical data gathering; (2) 3D shear wave velocity model development, and; (3) source modelling and ground motion simulations for the local major active faults. The project will be well suited to someone who is interested in multidisciplinary seismic hazard modelling. Applicants from a range of backgrounds (e.g. geophysics and geology majors), and the attributes of self-motivation, computer-literacy (preferably Python and Matlab) and excellent English writing skills will be considered. Scholarship and tuition funding is expected to be available for the three year duration of the research, commencing early 2017.

Expressions of interest should be directed to Mark Stirling, Professor of Earthquake Science, mark.stirling[at]otago.ac.nz

Postgraduate students

  • Elliot Bowie (MSc) -  Validations of ground motion simulations using precarious rocks
  • Briar Taylor-Silva (MSc) - Akatore Fault trenching

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Publications

Hamling, I. J., Hreinsdóttir, S., Clark, K., Elliott, J., Liang, C., Fielding, E., … Denys, P., … Pearson, C., … Stirling, M. (2017). Complex multifault rupture during the 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake, New Zealand. Science. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1126/science.aam7194

Stirling, M., Bebbington, M., Brenna, M., Cronin, S., Christophersen, A., Deligne, N., … Wang, T., White, J. D. L., … Wilson, T. (2017). Conceptual development of a National Volcanic Hazard Model for New Zealand. Frontiers in Earth Science, 5, 51. doi: 10.3389/feart.2017.00051

Stirling, M. W., Litchfield, N. J., Villamor, P., Van Dissen, R. J., Nicol, A., Pettinga, J., … Borella, J. (2017). The MW7.8 2016 Kaikōura earthquake: Surface fault rupture and seismic hazard context. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 50(2), 73-84.

Stirling, M. W., & Zuniga, F. R. (2017). Shape of the magnitude–frequency distribution for the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence from integration of seismological and geological data [Short note]. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 107(1), 495-500. doi: 10.1785/0120160246

Bebbington, M., Stirling, M., Cronin, S., Wang, T., & Jolly, G. (2016). Expert elicitation for a national-level volcano hazard model. Geophysical Research Abstracts, 18, EGU2016-3591. Retrieved from http://www.geophysical-research-abstracts.net/

Chapter in Book - Research

Stirling, M., Berryman, K., Wallace, L. M., Litchfield, N. J., Beavan, J., & Smith, W. D. (2009). Multi-disciplinary probabilistic tectonic hazard analysis. In C. B. Connor, N. A. Chapman & J. Connor (Eds.), Volcanic and tectonic hazard assessment for nuclear facilities. (pp. 257-275). UK: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511635380.011

Eberhart-Phillips, D., Sutherland, R., Eberhart-Phillips, D., Harris, R. A., Stern, T., Beavan, J., … Cox, S., Norris, R. J., … Cooper, A. F., … Stirling, M. (2007). Do great earthquakes occur on the Alpine fault in central South Island, New Zealand. In D. Okaya, T. Stern & F. Davey (Eds.), A continental plate boundary: Tectonics at South Island, New Zealand. (pp. 235-251). Washington, DC: American Geophysical Union. doi: 10.1029/175GM12

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Journal - Research Article

Hamling, I. J., Hreinsdóttir, S., Clark, K., Elliott, J., Liang, C., Fielding, E., … Denys, P., … Pearson, C., … Stirling, M. (2017). Complex multifault rupture during the 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake, New Zealand. Science. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1126/science.aam7194

Stirling, M. W., Litchfield, N. J., Villamor, P., Van Dissen, R. J., Nicol, A., Pettinga, J., … Borella, J. (2017). The MW7.8 2016 Kaikōura earthquake: Surface fault rupture and seismic hazard context. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 50(2), 73-84.

Stirling, M., Bebbington, M., Brenna, M., Cronin, S., Christophersen, A., Deligne, N., … Wang, T., White, J. D. L., … Wilson, T. (2017). Conceptual development of a National Volcanic Hazard Model for New Zealand. Frontiers in Earth Science, 5, 51. doi: 10.3389/feart.2017.00051

Christopherson, A., Litchfield, N., Berryman, K., Thomas, R., Basili, R., Wallace, L., … Stirling, M. W., … Yeats, R. (2015). Development of the Global Earthquake Model’s neotectonic fault database. Natural Hazards, 79(1), 111-135. doi: 10.1007/s11069-015-1831-6

Stirling, M., & Della Pasqua, F. (2015). Erosion rates for pinnacles formed in soft sediments and implications for constraining seismic-hazard models. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 105(2A), 590-598. doi: 10.1785/0120140231

Gerstenberger, M., McVerry, G., Rhoades, D., & Stirling, M. (2014). Seismic hazard modeling for the recovery of Christchurch. Earthquake Spectra, 30(1), 17-29. doi: 10.1193/021913EQS037M

Mountjoy, J. J., Micallef, A., Stevens, C. L., & Stirling, M. W. (2014). Holocene sedimentary activity in a non-terrestrially coupled submarine canyon: Cook Strait Canyon system, New Zealand. Deep Sea Research Part II, 104, 120-133. doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2013.09.001

Stirling, M., Goded, T., Berryman, K., & Litchfield, N. (2013). Selection of earthquake scaling relationships for seismic-hazard analysis. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 103(6), 2993-3011. doi: 10.1785/0120130052

Bradley, B. A., Stirling, M. W., McVerry, G. H., & Gerstenberger, M. (2012). Consideration and propagation of epistemic uncertainties in New Zealand probabilistic seismic-hazard analysis. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 102(4), 1554-1568. doi: 10.1785/0120110257

Cox, S. C., Stirling, M. W., Herman, F., Gerstenberger, M., & Ristau, J. (2012). Potentially active faults in the rapidly eroding landscape adjacent to the Alpine Fault, central Southern Alps, New Zealand. Tectonics, 31(2), TC2011. doi: 10.1029/2011TC003038

Stirling, M., McVerry, G., Gerstenberger, M., Litchfield, N., Van Dissen, R., Berryman, K., … Jacobs, K. (2012). National seismic hazard model for New Zealand: 2010 update. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 102(4), 1514-1542. doi: 10.1785/0120110170

Villamor, P., Capote, R., Stirling, M. W., Tsige, M., Berryman, K. R., Martinez-Díaz, J. J., & Martin-González, F. (2012). Contribution of active faults in the intraplate area of Iberia to seismic hazard: The Alentejo-Plasencia Fault. Journal of Iberian Geology, 38(1), 85-111. doi: 10.5209/rev_JIGE.2012.v38.n1.39207

Rhoades, D., & Stirling, M. W. (2012). An earthquake likelihood model based on proximity to mapped faults and cataloged earthquakes. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 102(4), 1593-1599. doi: 10.1785/0120110326

Stirling, M., Litchfield, N., Gerstenberger, M., Clark, D., Bradley, B., Beavan, J., … Buxton, R. (2011). Preliminary probabilistic seismic hazard analysis of the CO2CRC Otway project site, Victoria, Australia. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 101(6), 2726-2736. doi: 10.1785/0120110049

Stirling, M. W., Ledgerwood, J., Liu, T., & Apted, M. (2010). Age of unstable bedrock landforms southwest of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, and implications for past ground motions. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 100(1), 74-86. doi: 10.1785/0120080359

Slejko, D., Caporali, A., Stirling, M., & Barba, S. (2010). Occurrence probability of moderate to large earthquakes in Italy based on new geophysical methods. Journal of Seismology, 14(1), 27-51. doi: 10.1007/s10950-009-9175-x

Stirling, M., & Gerstenberger, M. (2010). Ground motion-based testing of seismic hazard models in New Zealand. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 100(4), 1407-1414. doi: 10.1785/0120090336

Stirling, M., Gerstenberger, M., Litchfield, N., McVerry, G., Smith, W., Pettinga, J., & Barnes, P. (2008). Seismic hazard of the Canterbury Region, New Zealand: New earthquake source model and methodology. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 41(2), 51-67.

Tormann, T., Savage, M. K., Smith, E. G. C., Stirling, M. W., & Wiemer, S. (2008). Time-, distance-, and magnitude-dependent foreshock probability model for New Zealand. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 98(5), 2149-2160. doi: 10.1785/0120060217

Nodder, S. D., Lamarche, G., Proust, J.-N., & Stirling, M. (2007). Characterizing earthquake recurrence parameters for offshore faults in the low-strain, compressional Kapiti-Manawatu Fault System, New Zealand. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 112, B12102. doi: 10.1029/2007JB005019

Power, W., Downes, G., & Stirling, M. (2007). Estimation of tsunami hazard in New Zealand due to South American earthquakes. Pure & Applied Geophysics, 164(2), 547-564. doi: 10.1007/s00024-006-0166-3

Stirling, M., & Petersen, M. (2006). Comparison of the historical record of earthquake hazard with seismic-hazard models for New Zealand and the continental United States. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 96(6), 1978-1994. doi: 10.1785/0120050176

Zachariasen, J., Berryman, K., Langridge, R., Prentice, C., Rymer, M., Stirling, M., & Villamor, P. (2006). Timing of late Holocene surface rupture of the Wairau Fault, Marlborough, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Geology & Geophysics, 49(1), 159-174. doi: 10.1080/00288306.2006.9515156

Stirling, M. W., & Anooshehpoor, R. (2006). Constraints on probabilistic seismic-hazard models from unstable landform features in New Zealand. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 96(2), 404-414. doi: 10.1785/0120050034

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Journal - Research Other

Stirling, M. W., & Zuniga, F. R. (2017). Shape of the magnitude–frequency distribution for the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence from integration of seismological and geological data [Short note]. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 107(1), 495-500. doi: 10.1785/0120160246

Langridge, R., Howarth, J., Cochran, U., Stirling, M., Villamor, P., Sutherland, R., … Norris, R. (2014). Lidar reveals uniform Alpine fault offsets and bimodal plate boundary rupture behavior, New Zealand [Forum Comment]. Geology, 42(10), e351. doi: 10.1130/G35935C.1

Stirling, M. W. (2012). Earthquake hazard maps and objective testing: The hazard mapper's point of view. Seismological Research Letters, 83(2), 231-232. doi: 10.1785/gssrl.83.2.231

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Full paper

Stirling, M. (2008). Simplified probabilistic seismic hazard model for Yucca mountain. Proceedings of the 12th International High-Level Radioactive Waste Management Conference. (pp. 521-523). La Grange Park, IL: American Nuclear Society. [Full Paper]

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Bebbington, M., Stirling, M., Cronin, S., Wang, T., & Jolly, G. (2016). Expert elicitation for a national-level volcano hazard model. Geophysical Research Abstracts, 18, EGU2016-3591. Retrieved from http://www.geophysical-research-abstracts.net/

Sutherland, R., Eberhart-Phillips, D., Harris, R. A., Stern, T., Beavan, J., Ellis, S., … Norris, R. J., … Cooper, A. F., … Stirling, M. (2006). Do great earthquakes occur on the Alpine Fault in central South Island, New Zealand? In B. Stewart, C. Wallace, J. Lecointre & M. Reyners (Eds.), Geological Society of New Zealand Miscellaneous Publication. 122A, (pp. 101). Wellington, New Zealand: GSNZ. [Abstract]

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