George Adams’ work leads to popular theory bearing his name
Do a Google search for the “latest earthquakes 2015” and you come up with more than 300,000 hits, sites listing quakes from Chile and Turkey to Alaska. What is much tougher to access are the names of those who have made significant contributions to our understanding of those sliding plates. Among those contributors is Northeastern’s own George Adams, College of Engineering Distinguished Professor
Adams, who is in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, identified a phenomenon regarding the behavior of the waves generated when one very flat object slides over another—say, when the Pacific plate encounters the North American plate along California’s San Andreas fault. Seismologists, taken with the clarity the theory brought to their understanding of earthquakes, named it Adams Instability, after its progenitor, George Adams.
“The theory of Adams Instability, in addition to its importance in the basic science of solid mechanics, allows more accurate predictions of the size of areas impacted by earthquakes,” says Hanchen Huang, professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.