Dr Paul Somerville is an engineering seismologist at AECOM with 42 years’ experience in seismic hazard analysis for the design and analysis of dams, power generation facilities, bridges, and buildings in many countries, including New Zealand, Australia, the United States and Japan. This experience includes most of the major dams and embankments in New Zealand and Australia.
Dr Somerville recently participated in the update for the ANCOLD Seismic Guidelines. He was President of the Australian Earthquake Engineering Society from 2014-2016. In 2015 he was the Joyner Lecturer for the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and the Seismological Society of America. He was Chairman of the Organising Committee for the 10th Pacific Conference on Earthquake Engineering, held in Sydney in 2015. He was a Member of the Boards of Directors for both the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute and the Seismological Society of America and was a Member of the Committee on Seismology for the National Research Council, United States National Academy of Science.
Dr Somerville has been involved in research and development in the understanding and modeling of earthquake source and ground motion characteristics, sponsored by many organisations including the New Zealand Earthquake Commission, New Zealand QuakeCoRE, Geoscience Australia, the Japan Nuclear Regulatory Authority, and the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Southern California Earthquake Centre. He has used physics-based simulation methods to understand and model recorded strong earthquake ground motions and to develop enhanced procedures for the specification of design ground motions, and applied these in practice for the seismic design and analysis of critical facilities around the world.
Dr Somerville received his B.Sc. degree in Geophysics from the University of New England, Armidale, Australia and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Geophysics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He spent two years as a Visiting Research Fellow at the Earthquake Research Institute, University of Tokyo. He is based in the Los Angeles and Sydney offices of AECOM and travels to New Zealand several times a year to visit clients and participate in earthquake engineering conferences.