Olaf Zielke

Research Scientists
Associate Editor, Journal of Geophysical Research -Solid Earth​​

Research Interests

Earthquake geology (analyzing geomorphic and stratigraphic expressions of earthquake surface rupture, aiming to constrain slip accumulation patterns and earthquake recurrence intervals along a fault to determine its earthquake recurrence characteristics an potential for earthquake predictability and forecast), Numerical earthquake simulations (running multi-cycle earthquake rupture simulations --in a forward-modeling sense --to analyze the effect of specific model parameters on seismic fault behavior --e.g., effect of fault-geometric complexity or depth-dependent of fault strength on magnitude-frequency distribution and earthquake recurrence characteristics), Kinematic earthquake rupture models (seismic source inversion that utilizes a range of data sets from real earthquakes to resolve respective fault slip history and final slip distribution on finite fault planes)

Selected Publications

Brothers, D. S., N. C. Miller, J. V. Barrie, P. J. Haeussler, H. G. Greene, B. D. Andrews, O. Zielke, J. Watt, and P. Dartnell (in press), Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. xxx, xxy-xxy. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2019.115882.

Zielke, O. (2018), Earthquake recurrence and the resolution potential of tectono-geomorphic records, Bull. Seismol. Soc. Am., 108(3A), 1399-1413, doi:10.1785/0120170241. 

Ren, Z., O. Zielke, and J. Yu (2018), Active tectonics in 4D high-resolution, J. Struct. Geol., 117, 264-271.doi: 10.1016/j.jsg.2018.09.015.

Zielke, O., M. Galis, and P. M. Mai (2017), Fault roughness and strength heterogeneity control earthquake size and stress drop, Geophys. Res. Lett. doi:10.1002/2016GL071700.

Zielke, O. and P. M. Mai (2016), Subpatch roughness in earthquake rupture investigations, Geophys. Res. Lett.43, 1893-1900, doi:10.1002/2015GL067084.

Mai, P. M., D. Schorlemmer, M. Page, J.-P. Ampuero, K. Asano, M. Causse, S. Custodio, W. Fan, G. Festa, M. Galis, F. Gallovic, W. Imperatori, M. Kaeser, D. Malytskyy, R. Okuwaki, F. Pollitz, L. Passone, H. Razafindrakoto, H. Sekiguchi, S. Goo Song, S. Somala, K. Thingbaijam, C. Twardzik, M. vanDriel, J. Vyas, R. Wang, and O. Zielke (2016), The earthquake-source inversion validation (SIV) project, Seis. Res. Lett. 87(3), 690-708, doi: 10.1785/0220150231. 

Haddon, E. K., C. B. Amos, O. Zielke, A. S. Jayko, and R. Bürgmann (2016), Surface slip during the large Owens Valley earthquakes, Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 17, 2239-2269, doi:10.1002/2015GC006033.

Zielke, O., Y. Klinger, J R. Arrowsmith (2015, invited review paper), Fault Slip and Earthquake Recurrence Along Strike-Slip Faults --Contributions Of High-Resolution Geomporphic Data, Tectonophysics, doi:10.1016/j.tecto.2014.11.004.


Akciz, S. O., Grant-Ludwig L. B., Zielke, O., and J R. Arrowsmith (2014), 3D investigation of a 5m deflected swale along the San Andreas Fault in the Carrizo Plain, Bull. Seis. Soc. Am. 104(6), doi:10.1785/0120120172.


Landgraf, A., O. Zielke, R. Arrowsmith, P. Ballato, M.R. Strecker, T.F. Schildgen, A.M. Friedrich, and S.H. Tabatabaei (2013), Differentiating simple and composite tectonic landscapes using numerical fault-slip modeling with an example from the south-central Alborz Mountains, Iran, J. Geophys. Res. 118, 1-14, doi: 10.1002/jgrf.20109.

Haddad, D., S. O. Akciz, J R. Arrowsmith, J. S. Oldow, D. D. Rhodes, O. Zielke, N. A. Toke, A. G. Haddad, and J. Mauer, Applications of airborne and terrestrial laser scanning to paleoseismology, in-review with Geosphere.
Zielke, O., J R. Arrowsmith, L. B. Grant-Ludwig, and S. O. Akciz (2012), High Resolution Topography-Derived Offset Along the 1857 Fort Tejon Earthquake Rupture Trace, San Andreas Fault, Bull. Seis. Soc. Am. 102(3), pp., doi: 10.1785/0120110230.
Zielke, O., and J R. Arrowsmith (2012), LaDiCaoz and LiDARimager -MATLAB GUIs for LiDAR data handling and lateral displacement measurement, Geosphere 8(1), 206-221, doi: 10.1130/GES00686.1.
Grant-Ludwig, L. B., S. O. Akciz, G. R. Noriega, O. Zielke, and J R. Arrowsmith (2010), Variable slip on the San Andreas Fault in the Carrizo Plain, California, Science 327, 1117-1119, doi: 10.1126/science.1182837.
Zielke, O., J R. Arrowsmith, L. B. Grant-Ludwig, and S. O. Akciz (2010), Slip in the 1857 and earlier large earthquakes along the Carrizo segment, San Andreas Fault, Science 327, 1119-1122, doi: 10.1126/science.1182781.
Akciz, S. O., Grant-Ludwig L. B., Arrowsmith J R., and O. Zielke (2010), Century-long average time intervals between earthquake ruptures of the San Andreas fault in the Carrizo Plain, California, Geology 38(9), 787-790, doi: 10.1130/G30995.1.
Zielke, O., and M. R. Strecker (2009), Recurrence of large earthquakes in magmatic continental rifts: Insights from a paleoseismic study along the Laikipia–Marmanet fault, Subukia Valley, Kenya Rift, Bull. Seis. Soc. Am. 99, 61-70, doi: 10.1785/0120080015.
Arrowsmith, J R., and O. Zielke (2009), Tectonic Geomorphology of the San Andreas Fault Zone From High Resolution Topography: an Example From the Cholame Segment, Geomorphology 113, 70-81, doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2009.01.002.
Zielke, O., and J R. Arrowsmith (2008), Depth variation of coseismic stress drop explains bimodal earthquake magnitude – frequency distribution, Geophys. Res. Lett. 35, L24301, doi:10.1029/2008GL036249.


2009 Ph.D., Arizona State University, USA
2004 Diploma in Geology, University of Potsdam, Germany

Professional Profile

201​7 – present: Senior Research Scientist, KAUST, Saudi Arabia
2012 – 2017: Research Scientist, KAUST, Saudi Arabia
2010 –  2012: Postdoctoral research associate, University of Potsdam, Germany
2009 – 2010: Postdoctoral research associate, Arizona State University, USA


2013 Editors Citation for “Excellence in Reviewing” for outstanding service to the authors and readers of the Journal of Geophysical Research –Solid Earth; American Geophysical Union.

2007 Outstanding Student Paper Award for presentation at the 2007 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco, CA, “ Effect of fault roughness on scaling relationships among earthquake magnitude and rupture characteristics”