Imperial College London

Dr. Auriol S. P. Rae

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering

Casual - Teaching Support







Royal School of MinesSouth Kensington Campus





I am a post-doctoral researcher investigating the process of impact cratering. In particular, I study the formation of complex impact structures, so called because they exhibit central-peaks and/or peak-rings.

I am interested in the mechanism that allows these structures to form. The collapse of large impact craters to form central-peaks and peak-rings is inconsistent with our understanding of the static strength properties of rocks, instead the crater-forming rocks must undergo significant, and transient, weakening. The underlying mechanism of this weakening is poorly understood.

To solve this problem, I employ observational techniques, both geological and geophysical, combined with numerical impact models.

Research Interests

  • Impact cratering
  • Structural geology
  • Rock mechanics
  • Shock metamorphism
  • Petrology and petrography of impactites
  • Dynamical impact modelling
  • Geophysics


2018 - now: Imperial College London - Post Doc

2014 - 2018: Imperial College London (PhD): The Kinematics and Dynamics of Complex Crater Collapse

2010 - 2014: Cambridge University (MSci, BA) 


  • Impact Cratering - 2 lectures
  • Dynamic Earth - 3 lectures
  • Solar System Geoscience
  • Applied Geophysics
  • Earth Materials
  • Optical Mineralogy and Petrology
  • Igneous and Metamorphic Processes
  • Igneous I
  • Igneous II
  • Solid Earth Geochemistry
  • Structural Geology I
  • Sedimentary Geology
  • Field Geology III (Kinlochleven & Assynt, Scotland)
  • Graphics and Statistics for Geoscientists

Associated researchers

Joanna Morgan

Gareth Collins

Selected Publications

Journal Articles

Riller U, Poelchau MH, Rae A, et al., 2018, Rock fluidization during peak-ring formation of large impact structures, Nature, Vol:562, ISSN:0028-0836, Pages:511-518

Rae A, Collins GS, Grieve RAF, et al., 2017, Complex crater formation: Insights from combining observations of shock pressure distribution with numerical models at the West Clearwater Lake impact structure, Meteoritics & Planetary Science, Vol:52, ISSN:1086-9379, Pages:1330-1350

Morgan JV, Gulick SPS, Bralower T, et al., 2016, The formation of peak rings in large impact craters, Science, Vol:354, ISSN:0036-8075, Pages:878-882

More Publications