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)

  • Wood, C. M., Cox, B. R., Green, R. A., Wotherspoon, L. M., Bradley, B. A., & Cubrinovski, M. (2017). Vs-based evaluation of select liquefaction case histories from the 2010-2011 canterbury earthquake sequence. Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, 143 (9).10.1061/(ASCE)GT.1943-5606.0001754
  • Giovinazzi, S., Austin, A., Ruiter, R., Foster, C., Nayyerloo, M., Nair, N. K., & Wotherspoon, L. (2017). Resilience and fragility of the telecommunication network to seismic events: Evidence after the Kaikoura (New Zealand) earthquake. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 50 (2), 318-328.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/35330
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Andrew Austin, Nirmal Nair
  • Kaiser, A., Balfour, N., Fry, B., Holden, C., Litchfield, N., Gersten-berger, M., ... Ristau, J. (2017). The 2016 Kaikoura, New Zealand, earthquake: Preliminary seismological report. Seismological Research Letters, 88 (3), 727-739. 10.1785/0220170018
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Ken Elwood
  • Davies, A. J., Sadashiva, V., Aghababaei, M., Barnhill, D., Costello, S. B., Fanslow, B., ... Mackie, J. (2017). Transport infrastructures performance and management in the South Island of New Zealand during the first 100 days following the 2016 Mw7.8 Kaikōura earthquake. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 50 (2), 271-299. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mohammad Aghababaei, Seosamh Costello, Prakash Ranjitkar
  • Wotherspoon, L., Orense, R., Green, R., Bradley, B., Cox, B., & Wood, C. (2015). Assessment of liquefaction evaluation procedures and severity index frameworks at Christchurch strong motion stations. Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, 79 (Part B), 335-346. 10.1016/j.soildyn.2015.03.022
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/32393
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rolando Orense
  • 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
  • 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

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 11, Room 1105
New Zealand