The Uturuncu volcano in Bolivia is mostly unknown in its seismic activity, and recent observations with GPS have shown inflation from a source in the lower to middle crust. 15 seismic stations were placed around Uturuncu to study the local seismicity. So far, a year of data has been collected from this array and is being reviewed. I will be reviewing part of the data, picking and locating the local earthquakes. I will also be making a map of the array and mapping the located earthquakes. Part of my job will also entail determining the focal mechanisms of the local earthquakes and use them to model and gain a better understanding of the crustal structure beneath Uturuncu.
With two weeks left of me here in Alaska, we're starting to wrap things up. Doug and I have done some brainstorming on what to put on the poster and a little bit on how it should be laid out. I think our main section is going to be about triggered seismicity at Uturuncu from the Chile earthquake. Speaking of the Chile earthquake, most of my picking lately has been during and after that event. My main focus now has been picking, too, as Doug wants to get all the data picked as soon as possible, which should be doable, as we now have three people working on picking the data.
I mentioned that there was a focal mechanism program in the works in my last entry. Well, that unfortunately didn't get all the bugs ironed out, so Doug decided that I should try doing some by hand for earthquakes near the center of the array with good first arrivals, as that would get the best focal mechanisms. Thankfully, I did stereonets in Structural Geology, so it wasn't too hard to get started. Unfortunately, when I plotted the points, I couldn't find any great circles to divide the dilitations and the compressions. Doug tried a couple after I told him my dilema, and he couldn't seem to get them to work either. His guess is that fifteen stations simply aren't enough for good focal mechanisms, so that unfortunately won't make it to our poster. He hopes, however, now that there are more stations in the array for the next set of data, he'll be able to get better data.
Outside of work, Doug took me out to see the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. He also showed me some of the animals kept in the Large Animal Research Center here at UAF. Pics below.
This is me in front of the pipeline. Note that the pipe is not bolted to the support. This is so the support can slide underneath the pipe during an earthquake so that it doesn't break.
I couldn't get my camera to focus on it, unfortunately. This guy was the only one out in the sun; all of his buddies were away from us under the shade of some trees. And they live up to their name: it smelled like a barn and it was at least 30 feet away.
The other animal we saw at the research center: caribou.
As for the daylight here, it's getting dark enough to the point where I can't see everything in my room if the lights are off (which shouldn't be a big deal, but it is), but I still can't see the stars at night. The most I can see in the sky is the moon and a planet (which I believe is Jupiter).
Also, next weekend I'm going to take a little trip to Denali to see the park, so I should have a few pictures to share then. Until next time,
I am currently half-way done with my internship! Still feels like a long time before I go home though.
I've gotten a pretty good map of the array made in GMT, which shows the locations of the stations and shows whether they're short period or broadband. I also have a line in the script that can plot the earthquakes I've located in the data, and I run that into the map after I pick more and update the text file.
Meanwhile, Mike is working on getting a focal mechanism program finished to analyze some of the earthquakes from the data to get an idea of what's going on under Uturuncu. There are still a few bugs to work out but it should be done in the near future.
Other than picking and updating my map, I will be working on making a cross-section of the array and plotting the earthquakes in said cross-section. I will first try to learn to do it in GMT (mainly using the "project" program), but if that isn't straightforward enough, I might try MATLAB and see if it's easier.
Outside of work, I made it to UAF's Museum of the North. The museum had sections on the native tribes, animals, fossils, and rocks and minerals. Animals of note were the Polar Bear and Grizzly (aka Brown) Bear, which after being next to the stuffed variety made me very grateful that they weren't alive; the Lynx; the Arctic Fox; and the wolf. Rocks and minerals of note were these two large quartz crystals, a Jade boulder about as wide as an office chair and as tall as the seat part, some beautiful gemstones, and a rough diamond with a very well defined octahedral shape. I put the pictures on my laptop last night, so I'll try to get them on Facebook soon.
Also, Michael asked me a question on my second entry that I forgot to address last time: Yes, my brother and I both go to Mount Union. In fact, we room together with two of our friends on campus. He's a physics major with a keen interest in acoustics.
Anyway, I'm sorry I don't update this as often as I should. I'll try to get the next update in sooner. >.>
Doug has gotten back from the IRIS meeting, so things are starting to pick up around here. Last week Mike was gone for a few days too, so not much happened around the office (at least with me). While they were gon I spent my time getting more aquainted with dbloc2, and when I got stuck in that I went to learn more in MATLAB. dbloc2 was giving Doug and myself some problems on Monday as well, as it likes to get stuck and doesn't want to scroll to different events. The next day, Doug talked to one of the people here who locate earthquakes all day and found out how to solve these problems (apparently changing the "arrivals since" time by a second does the trick).
Now that we can get dbloc2 to work, I'm reviewing these automated event picks which Mike set up on the last 3 months of data (which has been recently uploaded to the database). While these picks aren't perfect, they're a good starting point on the new data, as they show where the events are and saves a lot of time scanning through.
One thing Doug and I are having trouble with is finding .grd files of bolivia, which we need to make a station map of the area. He's going to check and see if Cornell has any of these files, as they are also working on this data and he's seen them with maps of the area, so hopefully we'll get those soon.
Unfortunately, I haven't been out exploring the area much. Everytime I want to walk on one of the trails on campus, it ends up raining, and I just got my raincoat in the mail yesterday. Hopefully the days stay sunny like they are right now so I can get to that this weekend and take some pictures to share.
Everyone from home keeps asking this question, so I'll address it here preemptively: No, I have not seen any moose. Yet. Or bears, but those are less likely, as any bear that goes into the city gets shot.
And now I leave you with a picture. This was taken on Monday night/Tuesday morning at around 12:30. Because that was the solstice, we naturally had the longest day of the year, and because it's Alaska, darkness doesn't exist. I fiddled with the shutter exposure to bring out the color of sunset/sunrise, so it might be a tad darker in the picture than it actually was, but this is night; it never gets darker than this up here, at least since I've been here.
I have now spent almost a full week in Alaska. Most of what I've been doing is getting used to the Antelope database and how it works. A couple of key programs in there are what I'm going to be using throughout the next few weeks to pick earthquakes. Mike West has been teaching me about the database while Doug Christensen is away at the IRIS meeting, and has been really patient and helpful these last few days.
Not related to the internship, I was able to successfully ride the bus out to Wal*Mart, get groceries, and not get stuck without a ride (which I feel is a wonderful accomplishment). I was also able to set up a bank account here earlier in the week (they don't have a Huntington here). I must say, living by myself is a very new experience; when you have a twin brother that you've been with your whole life, and you make very close friendships with the friends you have, there aren't many times where you're alone for more than a day. I've been keeping in touch with my family via phone to remedy this lonliness (they're amazed I get 3G out here), and out of sheer luck one of my housemates from college is vacationing in Alaska; we've made plans to hang out and get dinner with his family, which is crazy awesome.
So far my goals are to become more aquainted with the database setup and getting used to the smartpicks and dbloc2 program, which are used to pick and locate earthquakes. Smartpicks is quickly becoming familiar, but dbloc2 can be a bit testy, so I'll have to spend some time on that. Also, while not needing to be done immediately, I need to read through the unabridged proposal (which I'm told I should do in my downtime, and the whole thing is a stack of papers 0.5 cm thick, front and back), and I've been givin a nice book on seismology to look through (but not a textbook like Stein and Wysession).
Also, thanks to those of you who commented on my picture album on Facebook; I appreciate it. For any of you guys in the internship who aren't friends with me on Facebook and want to be can do so here.
And now I leave you with an xkcd comic, since I just learned about the program Epoch this week, and now makes total sense to me, even if it doesn't to you.
Today was quite an adventure. We headed out into the desert outside of Socorro, NM to visit a fault scarp and go hiking in the mountains. Some of the more interesting scenery included white granite mountains and overturned cross beds. During the trip,
I was ambushed by parachuting mountain lions who have a constant thirst for blood; Luckily, I was able to drive them away in a bloody battle to save the group I fell and scraped my leg. I'm fine, and so is my camera.
I got some good pics today, and will have them up soon.