Christopher Milliner

Christopher Milliner

Postdoctoral Scholar in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences

Hometown: Aberdeen, United Kingdom

Date of this Interview: January 14, 2023

What do you research?

My research is in understanding the mechanics and hazard of earthquakes using satellite imaging techniques. Specifically, I use radar and optical imaging satellite sensors to measure surface deformation due to earthquakes to estimate the stress, strain and frictional properties along fault ruptures. These help us understand us the mechanical strength of faults, how ruptures dynamically propagate along a fault and how wide the fault-zone can be, which poses a direct hazard to nearby infrastructure.

Why does space inspire you?

It is the unknown, a place to explore and push the limits of human potential. It is also somewhere that can help us better understand how our planet is changing and how to best preserve it against undue human influence. It is also somewhere that can transform our thinking about who we are and can provide meaning of our place in this world. Prior to Copernicus humans thought of themselves as being at the center of the universe and that we were somehow special and unique. Understanding whether life could have existed on nearby planets will likely have the same affect on clarifying why we are here.

If you could instantly travel to any point in the universe, where would you choose to go?

Orbiting the Moon to see the Earth rise over the lunar surface.

Where can you be found when you’re not conducting research?

Out in the ocean surfing, or up in the mountains hiking. I also enjoy trying different types of local, out-of-the-way food spots.

What book do you wish you could read for the first time again?

Barbarian days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan.

Image of Christopher in the ridgecrest rupture

Christopher standing in the 2019 Mw 6.4 Ridgecrest surface rupture that was a foreshock to the larger Mw 7.1 that occurred a day later and about 5 km behind him.