Rodrigo Contreras Arratia

Research Fellow - Seismology



1-868-662-4659 306 ext


  • BSc, Physical Sciences, Universidad de Concepcion, Concepcion, Chile
  • MSc, Geophysics, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile
  • Diploma: Tsunami Hazards and Vulnerability in Pacific Coast of South America, PUCV, funded by UNESCO
  • PhD in Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom


  • Seismology
  • Volcano seismology
  • Seismic sources and volcanic tremor
  • Volcano monitoring and instrumentation


As the seismologist at SRC, I am in charge of analysing and interpret the seismic signals produced by earthquakes in the eastern Caribbean. That includes tectonic events produced by the subduction zone and also volcano-related signals.

My research focuses on a variety of seismological features in volcanic environments. I am especially interested in seismic sources in volcanic environments, but also their relationship to geological and geophysical observations. I enjoy testing methodologies on extreme synthetic cases to check resolutions and viability.

I have a strong background in physics and mathematics, with deep knowledge in geophysics and seismology. I code using different languages, mostly Python. I have expertise using specialised seismological software on moment tensor inversions, numerical wave propagation, localisation of earthquakes and map creation.

Spanish is my mother tongue, I am proficient in English, and basic knowledge of the Russian language. Football lover and electric guitar enthusiast.

 Research interests

  • Physical models which explain seismic activity in volcanic settings, rupture processes, radiation and moment tensor inversions.
  • Volcano monitoring, seismic data analysis.
  • Forward seismic modelling and moment tensor inversions.
  • Solid-Fluid interactions in volcanic environments.
  • Viscoelastic and plastic wave propagation.
  • Links between seismology and deformation

Major Publications

Journal Publications (2019-2022)

  • Contreras-Arratia, Rodrigo. (November 2022). Are the earthquake locations reliable in caldera structures? Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, Volume 431.
  • Thompson, James O., Contreras-Arratia, Rodrigo., Befus, Kenneth S., Ramsey, Michael S. (August 2022). Thermal and seismic precursors to the explosive eruption at La Soufrière Volcano, St. Vincent in April 2021. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 592.
  • Delgado, Francisco., Contreras-Arratia, Rodrigo., Samsonov, Sergey. (July 2022) Magma buoyancy drives rhyolitic eruptions: A tale from the VEI 5 2008-2009 Chaitén eruption (Chile) from seismological and geodetic data. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 590.
  • E. P. Joseph, M. Camejo-Harry, T. Christopher, R. Contreras-Arratia, S. Edwards, O. Graham, M. Johnson, A. Juman, J. L. Latchman, L. Lynch, V. L. Miller, I. Papadopoulos, K. Pascal, R. Robertson, G. A. Ryan, A. Stinton, R. Grandin, I. Hamling, M-J. Jo, J. Barclay, P. Cole, B. V. Davies & R. S. J. Sparks (2022): Responding to eruptive transitions during the 2020-2021 eruption of La Soufrière volcano, St. Vincent. Nature Communications 13 (4129 (2022)), 10.1038/s41467-022-31901-4
  • Novoa C., Gerbault M., Remy D., Cembrano J., Lara L.E., Ruz Ginouves J., Tassara A., Baez J.C., Hassani R., Bonvalot S., Contreras-Arratia, R. Activation of margin-parallel shear zones favors explosive eruptions: could the Liquiñe-Ofqui Fault System promote the 2011 Cordón Caulle eruption? (2022) Earth and Planetary Science Letters.
  • Contreras-Arratia, R. and Neuberg, J.W. 2020. Towards reconciling seismic and geodetic moment estimations: Case Bárðarbunga. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research.
  • Contreras-Arratia, R. and Neuberg, J.W., 2019. Complex seismic sources in volcanic environments: Radiation modelling and moment tensor inversions. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research.