Paul Martin Mai

Professor of Earth Science and Engineering and Associate Dean Students of Physical Science and Engineering

Research Interests

Professor Mai's research interests include the physics of earthquakes and the resulting complexity of earthquake phenomena, as seen, for instance, through earthquake-source imaging and dynamic rupture modeling. Mai's work extends to strong ground motion properties and near-source broadband wavefield simulations that include seismic wave scattering in heterogeneous media.

He is also interested in earthquake engineering and seismic hazard analysis, and the application of innovative seismology tools in these fields. In this context, his work spans from fundamental earthquake physics to applied earthquake engineering.

Selected Publications

  • Dynamic fault interaction during a fluid-injection-induced earthquake: The 2017 mw 5.5 pohang event. Palgunadi, K. H., Gabriel, A. -., Ulrich, T., López-Comino, J. Á., & Mai, P. M. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 110(5), 2328-2349, (2020).
  • Geostatistical modeling to capture seismic-shaking patterns from earthquake-induced landslides. Lombardo, L., Bakka, H., Tanyas, H., van Westen, C., Mai, P. M., & Huser, R. Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface, 124(7), 1958-1980, (2019).
  • Landers 1992 “Reloaded”: Integrative dynamic earthquake rupture modeling. Wollherr, S., Gabriel, A. -., & Mai, P. M. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 124(7), 6666-6702, (2019).
  • The 2017 mw 7.3 Sarpol Zahāb earthquake, Iran: A compact blind shallow-dipping thrust event in the mountain front fault basement. Chen, K., Xu, W., Mai, P. M., Gao, H., Zhang, L., & Ding, X. Tectonophysics, 747-748, 108-114, (2018).
  • Mantle transition zone thickness beneath the Middle East: Evidence for segmented tethyan slabs, delaminated lithosphere, and lower mantle upwelling. Kaviani, A., Sandvol, E., Moradi, A., Rümpker, G., Tang, Z., & Mai, P. M. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 123(6), 4886-4905, (2018).
  • Presenting logistic regression-based landslide susceptibility results. Lombardo, L., & Mai, P. M. Engineering Geology, 244, 14-24, (2018).
  • Modeling soil organic carbon with quantile regression: Dissecting predictors’ effects on carbon stocks. Lombardo, L., Saia, S., Schillaci, C., Mai, P. M., & Huser, R. Geoderma, 318, 148-159, (2018).


  • ​​​​​Ph.D. Stanford University, USA, 2001
  • M.S. University of Karlsruhe, Germany,1995
  • B.S. University of Karlsruhe, Germany,1991

Professional Profile

  • 2011–today: Professor of Earth Science and Engineering, KAUST, KSA
  • 2009–2011: Associate Professor of Geophysics, KAUST, KSA
  • 2006–2009: Senior Scientist and Lecturer, ETH Zurich, Institute of Geophysics, Switzerland
  • 2004–2006: Research Scientist and Lecturer, Institute of Geophysics, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • 2002–2004: Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute of Geophysics, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

KAUST Affiliations

  • Physical Science and Engineering Division
  • Earth Science and Engineering Program