I finally got to go to the test site this week, and it was about as awesome as I thought it would be. I only got to go on Tuesday and Wednesday, but I don't mind becasue it does get hot out there.
My day started at 4:45am when I had to leave my apartment to walk to the bus stop. Then I got to ride this really comfy bus until about 7; I got to sleep a little and look at the amazing views of the mountains at sunrise. Then the guys I am working with (Ryan Emmitt and Bob White) drove me out across the test site (which is bigger than Rhode Island) to area 15. There was lots to look at in the test site: craters of varying sizes, radioactive warning signs, old equipment and trailers they don't use anymore but can't throw away because it's radioactive, the war room, other trailers they do still use, and pretty tilted strata.
Once we finally got to our test bed (where the SPE explosions happen) I went with Ryan out on a Mule (a small ATV), and we got to go off-roading to get the geophone receiver locations. Some of them we had to hike to because they were too far up hill, but that was fun too. My only job was to record the data on whether the geophones were working/ if any animals had eaten the cables. This means I had plenty of time to play with rocks. I saw lots of huge K-spar phenocrysts in the quartz-monzonite, nearly perfect calcite crystals, quartzite, some of the sedimentary layers, and lots of pretty colorful welded tuff. Oh, and also we saw a snake.
On Wednesday we finished checking all the geophone lines, and after doing a brief gps survey of the slope next to the test bed, I got to go on a tour of the test site. I got to see the sedan crater (part of the nukes for peace program), some more equipment that normal people don't get to see on the tour, the BEEF (big explosive experiment facility) bunker, and some videos of explosions. It was a pretty good day. I kinda wish I was allowed to take pictures.
Just to add to the awesomeness of my week, I have finally gotten access to one of my data sets (minivibe refraction data)! And with help from rob Abbott (an SPE person from Sandia) I've gotten it in a form that can be read by the program I have, and I can even reasonably see first arrivals in it! Now I get to start going through and really playing with the filters and times so I can make a good model.
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