Christopher H. Scholz

I joined the research staff at LDEO in 1968 and was Appointed Associate Professor in 1973 and Professor in 1977. I study the brittle deformation of the earth, both on the short term: earthquake physics, and the long term: fault mechanics. My work includes experimental rock mechanics, field studies of faulting, and theoretical studies. I have co-authored with students and colleagues over 300 papers on these subjects, and am the author of the leading treatise in this field, now in its third edition: The Mechanics of Earthquakes and Faulting, 3rd ed. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2019. Earlier editions were translated into Japanese and Chinese.

I am a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and have been awarded the Murchison Medal of the Geological Society (London) and the Harry Fielding Reid Medal of the Seismological Society of America.

Fields of Interest

Tectonophysics, Experimental & Theoretical Rock Mechanics, Friction, Fracture, Hydraulic Transport Properties, Nonlinear Systems, Mechanics of Earthquakes & Faulting


  • B.S. in Geological Engineering, Univ. of Nevada, Reno, Nevada, 1964 
  • PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1967
  • Postdoc, California Inst. of Technology, Seismological Laboratory, 1967-68

Honors & Awards

  • Harry Fielding Reid Medal of the Seismological Society of America, 2016
  • Murchison Medal from the Geological Society of London, 2005
  • Alfred P. Sloan Fellow, 1975-77
  • Cecil and Ida Green Fellow, UC San Diego, 1980-81
  • College de France lecture series, 1995
  • Phoebe Apperson Hearst Distinguished Lecture, Dept. Materials Sci, UC, Berkeley, 1996
  • Visiting lecturer, Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo, 2015

Transition regimes for growing crack populations, Spyropoulos, C.; Scholz, C. H.; Shaw, B. E. , Physical Review E, May, Volume 65, Issue 5, p.-, (2002), Doi 10.1103/Physreve.65.056105

The Mechanics of Earthquakes and Faulting, 2nd ed, Scholz, C.H., (2002)

Earthquakes and friction laws, Scholz, C. H., Nature, 391(6662), 37-42 (1998)