Dr Chris Rollins

Dr Chris Rollins


Update: I have now moved to GNS Science in New Zealand, but am still working part-time with COMET. My GNS email is c.rollins@gns.cri.nz.


I have been a COMET Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Leeds since September 2019. My background is in earthquake-related crustal deformation, geodesy and earthquake hazard.

Before coming to Leeds, I was a postdoctoral researcher with Jeff Freymueller at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (2017-18) and then at Michigan State University (2018-19), studying cryosphere-solid earth interactions in southeast Alaska and recent large earthquakes in various corners of Alaska.

I did my Ph.D. with Jean-Philippe Avouac at the Caltech Seismo Lab, where I studied the rates at which strain may be building up on faults beneath Los Angeles, what these rates can tell us about the likelihood of large earthquakes there, and how a nearby M=7.2 earthquake may have given the Earth’s crust and mantle an energy boost and thereby sent its own aftershock sequence into overdrive

As an undergraduate at the University of Southern California, I spent the later summers as an ACCESS intern at the Southern California Earthquake Center working with Thomas H. Jordan and Geoffrey Ely, and subsequently worked with James Dolan and Lee McAuliffe to study how prehistoric earthquakes in eastern California could have influenced one another via the transfer of crustal stress. I spent the preceding summers as a research intern at the USGS Menlo Park office with Ross S. Stein, studying how more recent earthquakes offshore Humboldt County, California could have done the same, like a multidimensional domino effect.

Between these lines of work, I enjoy writing for the general public about earthquakes and seismic hazard.

Research interests

At Leeds, I am working with Tim Wright and Andy Hooper to use InSAR data from the LiCSAR Sentinel-I pipeline to make maps of tectonic strain buildup throughout the Alpine-Himalaya Belt and assess the implications for seismic hazard in this densely populated part of the world. This work is part of the Center for the Observation and Modeling of Earthquakes and Tectonics.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://environment.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • Ph.D. Geophysics, California Institute of Technology (Div. Geol. Planet. Sci.), 2017
  • B.S. Geological Sciences, University of Southern California, 2011

Professional memberships

  • American Geophysical Union
  • Seismological Society of America
  • Southern California Earthquake Center

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute of Geophysics and Tectonics