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Dr Chuanbin Zhu

Assistant Professor

Department: Mechanical and Construction Engineering

Welcome to my university webpage!

I am an Assistant Professor in Geotechnical Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering and Environment. My research lies at the intersection of geotechnical engineering, earthquake engineering, and engineering seismology. The overarching goal of my research is to improve the hazard and risk evaluations for natural perils, especially earthquakes.

I earned my Ph.D. degree at the Queensland University of Technology, Australia, in 2018. My PhD thesis won the “Outstanding PhD Thesis Award” (top 5%). From 2018 to 2022, I worked as a Research Scientist at the Helmholtz Center Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Germany. At GFZ, I contributed to the Horizon 2020 program “SERA: Seismology and Earthquake Engineering Research Infrastructure Alliance for Europe” which leads to a revised European seismic hazard reference model.

From 2022 to 2024, I worked at the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, as a Research Fellow. I contributed to the New Zealand National Seismic Hazard Model (NSHM) project which re-defines the seismic loading standard in New Zealand. Besides research, I developed a new course for graduate students, and co-supervised PhD students.

I was a visiting researcher at the University of Tokyo in 2018, and Kyoto University in 2022. I served as a reviewer for GJI, EQS, BSSA, SDEE, JEE, etc (approximately 20 per year), and Guest Editor of special issues of SCI journals, as well as convened/chaired sessions at the Seismological Society of America Annual Meetings (2019-2023), European Seismological Commission General Assembly (2022), and the 8th International Conference on Earthquake Geotechnical Engineering (2024).

Chuanbin Zhu

From 2000 to 2019, earthquakes claimed 721,318 lives, which account for 58% of death tolls caused by natural hazards (UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction). If we can reliably forecast strong ground shaking during future catastrophic earthquakes, we can save lives. Despite the potential benefits, accurate prediction of earthquake ground shaking remains elusive. One of the major roadblocks is our inability to accurately predict the profound modification (e.g., amplification) of the Earth's near-surface structure (i.e., the top few hundred meters of the crust) to the seismic waves that travel through it - known as “site effects”.

I specialize in the characterization of earthquake site effects. My research interests include:

  • Site-effects characterization via observation, classic statistical modelling,  physics-based simulations, and advanced data-driven methods,
  • Inversion of near- and sub-surface properties (e.g., using microtremor or seismicity data),
  • Uncertainty/variability quantification,
  • Site classification,
  • Signal processing, and
  • Database development.

For detailed information on my research, please visit my personal website: 

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Spectral decomposition of ground motions in New Zealand using the generalized inversion technique, Zhu, C., Bora, S., Bradley, B., Bindi, D. 1 Jul 2024, In: Geophysical Journal International
  • The 2023 New Zealand Ground-Motion Database, Hutchinson, J., Zhu, C., Bradley, B., Lee, R., Wotherspoon, L., Dupuis, M., Schill, C., Motha, ., Manea, ., Kaiser, A. 1 Feb 2024, In: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
  • Complementary Dense Datasets Acquired in a Low-to-Moderate Seismicity Area for Characterizing Site Effects: Application in the French Rhône Valley, Froment, B., Olivar-Castaño, A., Ohrnberger, M., Gisselbrecht, L., Hannemann, K., Cushing, E., Boué, P., Gélis, C., Haendel, A., Pilz, M., Hillmann, L., Barbaux, O., Beauprêtre, S., Bouzat, G., Chaljub, E., Cotton, F., Lavoué, F., Stehly, L., Zhu, C., Magnin, O., Métral, L., Mordret, A., Richet, Y., Tourette, A. 1 Jan 2023, In: Seismological Research Letters
  • How well can we predict earthquake site response so far? Machine learning vs physics-based modeling, Zhu, C., Cotton, F., Kawase, H., Nakano, K. 1 Feb 2023, In: Earthquake Spectra
  • Separating broad-band site response from single-station seismograms, Zhu, C., Cotton, F., Kawase, H., Bradley, B. 1 Sep 2023, In: Geophysical Journal International
  • Site classification using deep-learning-based image recognition techniques, Ji, K., Zhu, C., Yaghmaei-Sabegh, S., Lu, J., Ren, Y., Wen, R. 10 Jul 2023, In: Earthquake Engineering and Structural Dynamics
  • Deriving Site Effect‐Free Hard‐Rock Time Histories in Japan from the Generalized Inversion Technique, Pilz, M., Cotton, F., Zhu, C., Nakano, K., Kawase, H. 1 Apr 2022, In: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
  • How much are sites affected by 2-D and 3-D site effects? A study based on single-station earthquake records and implications for ground motion modelling, Pilz, M., Cotton, F., Zhu, C. 1 Mar 2022, In: Geophysical Journal International
  • How well can we predict earthquake site response so far? Site-specific approaches, Zhu, C., Cotton, F., Kawase, H., Haendel, A., Pilz, M., Nakano, K. 1 May 2022, In: Earthquake Spectra
  • Within-Site Variability in Earthquake Site Response, Zhu, C., Cotton, F., Kwak, ., Ji, K., Kawase, H., Pilz, M. 1 May 2022, In: Geophysical Journal International

I am particularly interested in applying disruptive techniques, e.g., deep learning, in science discovery and problem-solving in engineering seismology.

Please feel encouraged to contact me if you are interested in research or knowledge exchange collaborations, or in pursuing a research degree under my supervision.

  • Civil Engineering PhD July 24 2018
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

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