Dr Liam Wotherspoon

BE (Hons), PhD


Liam is a Senior Lecturer in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Auckland. Liam did both his BE and PhD at the University of Auckland. Prior to his appointment to the department he was a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Institute of Earth Science and Engineering.

His research focuses on both structural and geotechnical aspects of earthquake engineering. Soil-foundation-structure interaction and integrated response of structures and foundations as single system (computational modelling and field testing of buildings and bridges). Seismic response of bridges (effects of seasonal freezing, liquefaction and lateral spreading effects, large scale field testing and forced vibration). Resilience of ports (hazard assessment, fragility modelling of components and facilities). Site characterisation (liquefaction studies, strong motion station characterisation). Foundation response (computational modelling, large scale field testing). Heavily involved in post-earthquake reconnaissance investigations during the 2010-2011 Canterbury, New Zealand earthquake sequence.



PhD (Civil Engineering) The University of Auckland
BE (Hons) The University of Auckland

Research | Current


  • Integrated structure foundation response
  • Seismic response of bridges
  • Resilience of port facilities
  • Large scale field testing
  • Geotechnical site investigation

Research groups

  • The University of Auckland Centre for Earthquake Engineering Research (UACEER)
  • Geotechnical Engineering
  • Structural Engineering

Teaching | Current

  • CIVIL 421 - Foundation Engineering
  • CIVIL 322 - Geomechanics 2


Martin P. Kom Award for Design and Research to Advance Precast/Prestressed Concrete (Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute) (2013)

GCG Fellowship (2012)

IPENZ Fulton-Downer Gold Medal – The President’s Award (co-recipient) (2011)


Areas of expertise


  • Soil-foundation-structure interaction and integrated response of structures and foundations
  • Seismic response of bridges
  • Resilience of ports
  • Geotechnical site characterisation 

Committees/Professional groups/Services


Professional affiliations

  • Management Committee - New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering (NZSEE)
  • Member - New Zealand Geotechnical Society (NZGS)
  • Member - Institute of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ)
  • Member - Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Lin, Y.-W., Wotherspoon, L., Scott, A., & Ingham, J. M. (2014). In-plane strengthening of clay brick unreinforced masonry wallettes using ECC shotcrete. Engineering Structures, 66, 57-65. 10.1016/j.engstruct.2014.01.043
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/29081
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Jason Ingham
  • Green, R. A., Cubrinovski, M., Cox, B., Wood, C., Wotherspoon, L., Bradley, B., & Maurer, B. (2014). Select Liquefaction Case Histories from the 2010–2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence. Earthquake Spectra, 30 (1), 131-153. 10.1193/030713EQS066M
  • Wotherspoon, L. M., Orense, R. P., Jacka, M., Green, R. A., Cox, B. R., & Wood, C. M. (2014). Seismic Performance of Improved Ground Sites during the 2010–2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence. Earthquake Spectra, 30 (1), 111-129. 10.1193/082213EQS236M
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rolando Orense
  • Cubrinovski, M., Haskell, J., Winkley, A., Robinson, K., & Wotherspoon, L. (2014). Performance of Bridges in Liquefied Deposits during the 2010–2011 Christchurch (New Zealand) Earthquakes. Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities, 28 (1), 24-39. 10.1061/(ASCE)CF.1943-5509.0000402
  • Wotherspoon, L. M., Pender, M. J., & Orense, R. P. (2012). Relationship between observed liquefaction at Kaiapoi following the 2010 Darfield earthquake and former channels of the Waimakariri River. Engineering Geology, 125, 45-55. 10.1016/j.enggeo.2011.11.001
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/10299
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Michael Pender, Rolando Orense
  • Cubrinovski, M., Bray, J. D., Taylor, M., Giorgini, S., Bradley, B., Wotherspoon, L. M., & Zupan, J. (2011). Soil Liquefaction Effects in the Central Business District during the February 2011 Christchurch Earthquake. Seismological Research Letters, 82 (6), 893-904.

Contact details

Primary location

Level 7, Room 715
New Zealand