The Michigan Engineer News Center

Professor Athanasopoulos-Zekkos investigates Ecuadorian earthquake

Associate Professor Adda Athanasopoulos-Zekkos is part of a team that has been mobilized to investigate the potential impacts of the widespread earthquake-induced geotechnical and subsurface infrastructure failures as a result of the April 16, 2016 M7.8 earthquake that occurred offshore of the west coast of northern Ecuador.| Short Read
EnlargeProfessor Athanasopoulos-Zekkos iin Ecuador
IMAGE:  Professor Athanasopoulos-Zekkos iin Ecuador

The team is part of the Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance (GEER) organization, which is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.

The earthquake and its aftershocks have led to several hundred casualties, tens of thousands homeless, and significant destruction. Based on the US Geological Survey, the main earthquake was caused by shallow thrust faulting on or near the plate boundary between the Nazca and South America plates where the Nazca subducts beneath the South America plate at 61 mm/yr. Subduction along the Ecuador Trench and the Peru-Chile Trench farther south, has led to uplift of the Andes mountains and has produced some of the largest earthquakes in the world, including the 1960 M9.5 earthquake in southern Chile the largest ever recorded event.

The GEER team will focus on documenting the geo-effects of the event, with special emphasis on soil-structure interaction and lifeline performance, as well as ground motions, liquefaction effects, and landslides. GEER members are interacting with top Ecuadorian government officials through their collaboration with the top Ecuadorian earthquake professionals.

Professor Athanasopoulos-Zekkos iin Ecuador
The electrons absorb laser light and set up “momentum combs” (the hills) spanning the energy valleys within the material (the red line). When the electrons have an energy allowed by the quantum mechanical structure of the material—and also touch the edge of the valley—they emit light. This is why some teeth of the combs are bright and some are dark. By measuring the emitted light and precisely locating its source, the research mapped out the energy valleys in a 2D crystal of tungsten diselenide. Credit: Markus Borsch, Quantum Science Theory Lab, University of Michigan.

Mapping quantum structures with light to unlock their capabilities

Rather than installing new “2D” semiconductors in devices to see what they can do, this new method puts them through their paces with lasers and light detectors. | Medium Read