Dr Max O. Kluger

Max O. Kluger

Post-doctoral fellow

Qualifications: BSc, MSc, PhD at University of Bremen

About Max O.

I am part of the Tephra-Seismites project, which aims on identifying the earthquake risk in the Hamilton lowlands, New Zealand, by analysing geotechnical and earthquake engineering properties of tephra layers deposited during the last c. 20,000 years. This project is funded by MBIE 'Smart Ideas' and Marsden Funds.

You can find me on ResearchGate, GoogleScholar, Twitter, LinkedIn, and OrcID

Research Supervised

PhD (Co-supervised)

Chaneva, Jordanka (2020 ongoing) Geotechnical properties and palaeoseismic implications of liquefied lacustrine ash-layers, Hamilton Basin (supported by MBIE Endeavour and Marsden Funds)

PhD (advised)

Busch, Alexander (2018 ongoing) The long term set-up-ef­fect of Xl - dri­ven mo­no­pi­les (supported by BMWI Fund)

Al-Sammarraie, Dina (2016-2020) Vibratory cone penetration test to investigate cyclic soil behavior in-situ (supported by BMWI Fund)

Stäh­ler, Florian (2016-2019) Cone penetration tests in a small volume calibration chamber: effects related to sand type, saturation state, cyclic pre-loading, vibratory penetration mode, and boundary condition (supported by BMWI Fund)

Research Interests

I am interested in coastal engineering geology. I worked on landslide initiation processes in the past by combining geotechnical experiments, field monitoring data, and mineralogical analyses.

What role do clay minerals and their properties play in areas of frequent landslides?

We investigated the Bramley Drive flow slide in clayey volcanic ash (tephra) deposits at Omokoroa Peninsula, New Zealand, an area being prone to frequent landslides in the past. Our most significant result was the discovery of a new morphology of the clay mineral halloysite. This morphology is probably responsible for the fluidisation of such altered tephras during landslides.

Omokoroa Peninsula, New Zealand, an area with frequent landsliding New morphology of halloysite favouring flow sliding

How do clayey tephras respond to earthquake shaking?

By performing cyclic triaxial tests on intact clayey tephra samples obtained from the Bramley Drive flow slide at Omokoroa Peninsula, New Zealand, we found that clayey tephra is more resistant against earthquake shaking than sedimentary clays from the Northern Hemisphere. Our clayey tephra commonly features sudden, brittle failure within a few earthquake loading cycles, whereas sedimentary clays behave more ductile, losing their stiffness and strength over a wider range of earthquake loading cycles.

Cyclic loading scenarios

How large is the role of heavy rainfall events on the triggering of landslides in clayey tephra?

From a five-year-long rainfall and water table time series, we derived rainfall intensity and duration thresholds that triggered landslides in clayey tephras along the coast of Omokoroa Peninsula, New Zealand. Moderate rainfalls with durations of more than 24 hours seemed to coincide with the occurrence of landslides observed during the 2017 cyclones season.

Rainfall threshold for clayey tephra landslide triggering

How can coastal environmental projects benefit from interdisciplinary collaboration?

During my post-graduate research at MARUM - Center for Environmental Sciences, I was part of the interdisciplinary post-graduate training group INTERCOAST composed of geoscientists, biologists, social scientists, and legal scientists. Besides our own individual disciplinary projects, the group explored benefits and challenges of interdisciplinary collaboration by performing a fictional environmental project. The aim of this fictional project was finding the best location for a wind farm while weighing between diverse interests of different disciplines. A new practical guideline describes our approach for interdisciplinary collaboration.

Interactions between disciplines in coastal environmental project Practical guideline for interdisciplinary collaboration

Recent Publications

  • Busch, A. V., Kluger, M. O., Hepp, D. A., Goodarzi, M., Kreiter, S., & Mörz, T. (2022). Installation and aging effects on the capacity of small displacement piles. Geomechanics for Energy and the Environment, 100350. doi:10.1016/j.gete.2022.100350

  • Kluger, M. O., Kreiter, S., Stähler, F. T., Goodarzi, M., Stanski, T., & Mörz, T. (2021). Cone penetration tests in dry and saturated Ticino sand. Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment. doi:10.1007/s10064-021-02156-y

  • Al-Sammarraie, D., Kreiter, S., Kluger, M. O., & Mörz, T. (2020). Reliability of CPT measurements in sand – influence of spacing. Géotechnique, 1-13. doi:10.1680/jgeot.19.p.247

  • Kluger, M. O., & Bartzke, G. (2020). A practical guideline how to tackle interdisciplinarity—A synthesis from a post-graduate group project. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 7(1), 11 pages. doi:10.1057/s41599-020-00540-9

Find more research publications by Max O. Kluger


Coastal Sciences; Engineering; Geology

Liquefaction; Earthquakes; Halloysite; Sensitive soils; Landslides

Contact Details

Email: [email protected]
Room: F2.07
Cellphone: 021 0853 8033