Prof. dr. Chris Spiers

Vening Meineszgebouw A
Princetonlaan 8a
3584 CB Utrecht

Prof. dr. Chris Spiers

Experimental rock deformation

Prof. Christopher (Chris) Spiers retired in March 2020 from being head of the laboratory to become Emeritus Professor at the High Pressure and Temperature Laboratory in the Department of Earth Sciences (Faculty of Geosciences) at Utrecht University. Note that the High Pressure and Temperature Laboratory is now located within the Faculty's Earth Similation Laboratory (address above).

Prof. Spiers remains active in research and specialises in research on the mechanical and transport properties of rock materials under conditions that characterise the Earth’s crust and upper mantle, and the effects that fluid-rock interactions have on these properties. 

He was born and educated in the U.K. graduating with his BSc and PhD from Imperial College, London.  He worked as a Miller Fellow for a number of years thereafter at the University of California at Berkeley, before moving to The Netherlands and to Utrecht University, where he established the HPT Laboratory.

His research interests continue to include topics ranging from the solid state flow and mechanical damage behaviour of crustal and upper mantle rocks (from rocksalt and carbonates to olivine),  to the frictional and healing behaviour of faults, natural and induced earthquake nucleation, the compaction behaviour of sands/sandstones and carbonates in response to geo-energy production, and to the effects of CO2 storage on the mechanical behaviour of reservoir rocks, caprocks, coals and organic-rich shales.

Prof Spiers' keenest interest lies in the study of the microphysical and fluid-rock interaction processes that control rock and fault mechanical behaviour, and in constructing and validating microphysical models for such processes.  Throughout his career he has also been passionately committed to educating and guiding students and early career researchers, and played a vigorous role in the Earth Sciences Bachelor and Master programmes at Utrecht.  

Having filled university management functions from Dean to Education Director, Prof. Spiers for many years led Earth Sciences input into Utrecht University’s  Strategic Research Programme on Pathways to Sustainability (Subsurface resources for negative emissions). He has served and still serves on multiple advisory panels in the areas of geo-resources and geo-storage.


Earth Materials
Inaugural lecture date