This summer I will be researching with Anne Trehu at Oregon State University. On August 28-30 an earthquake swarm occured off the northern Juan de Fuca ridge. There were at least 75 earthquakes recorded onshore with the largest being a magnitude 5.9. The earthquake swarm was also recorded by an array of 16 ocean bottom seismometers called Central Oregeon Locked Zone Array (COLZA). Hundreds of T-phases were recorded on COLZA. We will locate the T-phase source using cross correlation techniques that are usually used for locating seismic tremor. The locations of the earthquakes can give a better understanding of the source of the swarm. The migration of seismic activity can be related to magmatic processes on the mid ocean ridge.
I will also be going on a research cruise in July to help deploy ocean bottom seismometers off the coast of Oregon and Washington.
It is hard to put into words how amazing this internship experience was for me. I learned so much about myself, research, and seismology. Oregon was an amazing place to be for the summer. I made so many friends and had so many great experiences exploring the state. Looking back at my first post about my goals made me realize how many of those I accomplished. I think I hit on everyone this summer.
At the beginning of the summer, I was so nervous about researching. I always looked forward to it, but I did not know what to expect. It was amazing how much what I learned in my classes could be applied to my research! It is a wonderful feeling when you know you learned something in class and now you can apply it to a real problem.
I feel like I also learned a lot about myself and my brain capabilities over the summer. I know now that I enjoy researching and the challenges it brings. I love getting data and then thinking about it and working at it from different angles. I also learned that this process can be frustrating and tedious at times. I just have to stay motivated and keep working through the problem.
I have to finish finding the locations of the earthquakes. My next little assignment is to create a travel time model for a grid of the earthquake estimated locations to the OBS locations. It should be an interesting MATLAB project to keep me busy in my free time.
This internship made me realize that I definitely want to study geophysics and most likely focus on seismology. I think seismology is just so fascinating and I would love to study it more. Now I have to start looking into graduate schools!
I hope everyone had a great summer and a successful school year!
Here I am, starting my last week of the internship. It is amazing how fast time flew! I learned so much in these past 10 weeks and have had so many amazing experiences. I still have a lot of work to do though!
I submitted my AGU abstract last Thursday! It is nice to have that off my shoulders. I am so excited to go present my research and see all the amazing work other scientists are doing! Now I can just buckle down and focus on the remaining week of my research.
I am still working away at my data set so that I can have some more results. I will have to keep working on this next semester when I get some free time. I really do not mind though because I want to keep looking at the earthquake swarms and trying to figure out what is going on! This week I think I am going to try and get an old Matlab program, that another grad student wrote, running. This program is designed to create an envelope over the T-phases and then the different envelopes from different stations for one event are cross correlated. I am going to use this method to locate the swarms. Hopefully I can get the program working so then I can use it once I get home to locate each earthquake in the August and October swarm.
Last weekend I went to Mount St. Helens! It was incredible! It is strange finally going somewhere you have wanted to go your entire life! In school we always talk about Mt. St. Helens so it was great to actually get to go see it! Unfortunately all the climbing permits were sold out so we did not get to climb to the top of it. We did go on some amazing hikes though! My favorite one was across the ridge where the Johnston Ridge Observatory is. We hiked along the ridge until we could see Mt. Rainer off in the distance and Spirit Lake was down below us. It is amazing how many dead logs are still int he blast zone! It was very interesting to see how nature was bouncing back. There were so many wild flowers growing on the hills. It was a beautiful time of year to visit! I will definitely have to go back one day to climb it.
Hello from 30 km off the coast of Washington in the Pacific Ocean!
I am currently helping with a deployment of Columbia-Lamont’s new ocean bottom seismometers! Lamont is testing a new style of seismometer casing that will not be able to be caught in fishing nets. They kind of look like flying saucers with the battery, data logger, and the seismometer contained on the inside. We are deploying 18 of them over the course of 10 days. It has been quite an adventure!
The day before we left Newport I spent all day painting the alien like casings with heavy-duty bottom paint that discourages animals to grow on them. The casings are about the size of a 2 or 3 person tent, so they are pretty big! By the end of the day I was feeling a bit woozy from the paint haha. Last Sunday we left port to travel the seas! I transitioned into living on the sea very well. I did not get sea sick at all, I actually think it is fun being tossed about by the waves. The deployments keep getting smoother as we get use to putting them together and then deploying them. There is a steel cable that is hooked up to the giant seismometer apparatus and then they are lowered all the way to the sea floor (anywhere from 180 m to 800m deep). The other day the acoustic release that separates the cable from the seismometer was lost at sea. The cable broke and the seismometer dropped 100 m to the ocean floor. We tried signaling the seismometer and release its buoy so we could find it, but we think it flipped over. I do not know if they are going to be able to recover that seismometer. We had to go into Grey’s Harbor to find a new acoustic release so that we could continue deploying seismometers!
My shift is from midnight to noon so the lab is pretty quite besides the 2 other people on their shift at the same time. I get to watch the sunrise every day though! It is nice because I have had some time to work on my AGU abstract and a little bit of my research. My jobs have consisted of surveying the sight were we drop the seismometers and also doing an acoustic survey of a methane vent on the bottom of the ocean. Surveying the drop site is so fun! We send an acoustic wave at 12 kHz to a receiver on the seismometer. The receiver bounces back energy at 12 kHz. It is awesome because you can actually hear the frequencies that we are looking at! In seismology the frequencies are so low you cant hear them. We can hear the onboard instrument “pinging” down to the receiver and the receiver pinging back to us! We can also hear other ocean noise in the speaker onboard. The other day we heard another ships echosounder and what we thought were dolphins! The captain drives the boat in a X shape over the drop site and we ping the instrument every minute and take the lat-long and two way travel time (ms) so that the Lamont team can go back and precisely locate their instrument.
The other project we have been working on at night is really fun too! We have been doing a survey on a methane vent on the bottom of the ocean. The last time it was imaged was in 2009. So we drive 12 lines over the top of the vent (6 N-S and 6 E-W) that are ~0.25 mile long. We use the echosounder to put out 4 kHz and 12kHz signal that bounces off whatever it hits in the ocean and comes back to the ship. Using this method, we can see what is under the water! So when we travel over the vent we can see all these bubbles coming up from the seafloor. Another cool thing we see is a plankton layer at about 50 to 60 m deep. The plankton layer gets SUPER thick around the vent, which is interesting that they like the vent. The other thing we see are large schools of fish eating the plankton above the vent! (Keep in mind that it is mostly just groups of dots on the screen but we can figure out what it is… if I ever figure out how to post images on the blog then I will put a picture up). So we have done about 20 passes over the vent. My advisor is going to look more at the data when we get back to shore. I have been really enjoying looking at the echosounder output and trying to figure out what is going on under the surface. As a SCUBA diver it has been killing me not being able to go under the water to see what is around. The echosound is about as good as it’s going to get! If we have enough time, we are going to send an ROV (Research operating underwater vehicle) with a camera on it to check one of the seismometers we think feel on its side.
I have been lucky enough to see some wild life from up on the deck though! So far I have seen a pod of ~20 Pacific white side dolphins, sunfish, jellyfish, lots of sea birds, albacore tuna (which we caught) and two blue sharks! Hopefully I will get to see a whale before I get off the ship! I saw a whale a few weekends ago off the coast near Newport, but I would love to see one from the ship!
I have 3 more days on my cruise and then I am finished! It has been such an amazing experience so far. I am so lucky that I get to do this. The sea is so beautiful and different from solid land. Last night was the first clear night we had out on the ocean. Standing out on the deck looking out into the Milky Way was one of those memories I will have forever.
I can’t believe I am almost done with my internship! I am not ready to leave Oregon but I have to get back to school! I hope I can make the best of the last two weeks and finish up my research.
Hello All! I am sorry I have been so distant. I just have been SO busy! I have not had one weekend to sit and relax yet... There are just too many fun things to do in Oregon.
My research is going well. The scope of the project has changed a bit. At first we thought the earthquake swarm was due to a magmatic injection but now we think it was caused by transform faulting near the spreading center. By graphing the magnitude of the earthquakes by the frequency of the magnitude I was able to find the slope of the line called the b value. The b value can help determine if the earthquake was due to a magmatic or tectonic process. From my calculated b value the swarm seems to be tectonic, supporting the transform fault hypothesis. The focal mechanism solutions (beach ball diagrams) also look like the largest earthquakes in the swarm were due to a transform faulting. It has been fun trying to discover what the swarm was caused by. Now I am looking at spectrograms of days during the swarm. I might be able to get some information from the frequency content of the earthquakes. I am also going to be measure the instrument response between land seismic stations and ocean bottom seismometers.
My weekends have been full of interesting adventures! I went to Portland and Mt. Hood a few weekends ago. The past two weekends I have been spending all my time at the beach in Newport. I have decided that I really want to move near the ocean. I love the Oregon coast. It is so rocky and green and cloudy. It is so beautiful. The town of Newport is a fun little town with cute shops, lots of beaches, and lighthouses. Last weekend my fellow land locked family came to Newport with me to enjoy the ocean. One of the interns for the Oregon State REUs taught my sister and I how to surf! I had so much fun fighting the waves. I hope I get to do it again. I was happy that I accomplished yet another one of my summer goals! I also got to see lots of wildlife. I saw octopus, seals, lots of ocean birds, whales, and tide pools.
I am getting ready for my research cruise! We leave on Saturday or Sunday. The purpose of the cruise is to drop ocean bottom seiesmometers off the coast of Oregon and Washington. I am getting excited and nervous for the cruise. I hope I do not get sea sick! I have never gotten sick before on boats... so hopefully I will be alright. I will have internet on the cruise which will be nice. I will definitely update my blog once I am on the ship!
Last week I was a busy bee trying to read as many papers I could on T phases and seismology on mid ocean ridges. It was really interesting. I love learning about new environments I am not familiar with. I finished my little Proposal about for my project this summer. It was extremely helpful and allowed me to get my thoughts in order. I am really ready to buckle down and keep working!
I made some progress with the data set I am working on. The swarm of earthquakes were recorded by other instruments in the area including the Navy's Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) and the 2 ocean bottom seismometers plus the 6 temporary onshore seismometers that are part of EarthScope's FlexArray. I spent last week locating the August 2008 swarm with coordinates that SOSUS and ANSS gave. The locations for each array did not agree with one another. The strike was relatively the same, but the the locations were offset vertically and horizontally from one another. This could be for various reasons. The next step would be to plot the earthquakes recorded from the COLZA network using the algorithm that I mention in my last post. I have not had much time to go back and play with the parameters.
I also have to finish up looking at the peak to peak magnitudes for the August 2008 event and seeing if I can assign a magnitude to the smaller earthquakes. If all works well, I can gather a b-value then.
My adviser told me that there was another earthquake swarm in October of 2008. This was a much smaller event, but happened in the same region as the larger August 2008 swarm. As it says in my summer description, the August 2008 swarm had 75 earthquakes recorded by onshore seismometers with the largest being a 5.9. This is a large number of earthquakes for a mid ocean ridge. In comparison the October 2008 swarm only had 1 recorded earthquake with onshore seismometers.
If I can define a function to estimate magnitudes for small earthquake using the August 2008 swarm then I can apply it to the October 2008 swarm. It will be interesting to see how the two events compare.
This past weekend was AWESOME! I went on a camping trip with the other COAS REU students to check out the Cascades. I saw so many amazing volcanoes this weekend! It was so exciting!!! I got to see Newberry (Including the Obsidian Flow), The 3 Sisters, Mt. Jefferson, Mt Hood, Mt Bachelor, Lava Butte, lots of cinder cones, and many other amazing volcanic features. It was AMAZING! I am a volcano lover though so of course I loved it. The adviser for the COAS REU is a geologist so he was able to tell us about the geology of region.
Now back to work. I hope everyone has a good week!
Last week was a lot of fun. I meet all the other COAS REUers last week and I am having a great time getting to know them all! On wednesday we went to Newport to visit the Hatfield Marine Science center. It was so much fun! We got to go on a tour of the facilities and see all the research that is going on there. They had a cool aquarium with local fish and sea life there too. The best part was the Pacific Octopus. It was soooo beautiful… (but octopus are my favorite animal so I have a biased opinion). After that we went on a little hike on the coast. There were all these beautiful jointed basalt flows on the sandy beach. We climbed up to the top of them and it was a magnificent view! I am so in love with the rocky beaches of the west coast.
Right now I am looking at the T-waves and finding the peak to peak amplitudes compared to the magnitudes of each of the earthquakes that was recorded by the ocean bottom seismometers and hydrophones. It is a bit tedious but so rewarding once I can plot them all up and see that it working. At some point I will be able to find the b value of the 3 day earthquake swarm and that will hopefully give me more evidence that this swarm was due to magmatic activity in the crust. We are trying to figure out if we can assign a magnitude to the smaller events. Even if we cannot acheive this, it will tell us more about the characterization of T-phases. I also started working on a program that cross correlates the T-waves so that I can eventually locate each of the earthquakes. I spent all day on Monday working on the program and I finally got it to work! The only problem is that it is giving me some “out there” answers. I am going to have to go back and work on it some more and fiddle with the filtering and the time window to see if I can get some better lag time and correlation values
I am also working on a Proposal for my research. It is mostly just for my own benefit so that I can get all my thoughts and methods out on paper. It also forces me to write more about the background of what i am studying. It will come in handy when I send my abstract to AGU in just a little over a month or so. I am really enjoying reading about mid ocean ridge geology and seismology… I am learning so much about a subject I really did not know much about.
Here is a really cool website that kinda gives the reader a clue of what I am working on… It is what the hydrophones (pretty much microphone that are underwater) are “hearing” in the oceans… There are signals from whales, earthquakes, volcanoes, ships, and mystery sounds. T-waves (what I am using to study the earthquake swarm) are used for so many applications including: submarines, ships, whales, volcanoes, and earthquakes.
This past weekend was SO MUCH FUN! On friday we went downtown and got Gelato and it was yummy. Then on Saturday 4 friends and I went to this festival called Faerieworlds in Eugene OR. It was a Celtic music festival. It was kind of like a renaissance fair but more fantasy themed. There was belly dancing, juggling, lots of good bands, great food, and amazing costumes.
So far I am loving Oregon! It is so beautiful here! I love the cool weather, the rain, all the shades of green, and the bright, vibrant flowers, and that the ocean is only an hour or so away! It is so different from New Mexico, it is a great contrast! Corvallis is a really fun little town as well! I am excited to go exploring around the town and go hiking on local trails.
My first day of my internship (last Wednesday) my adviser and I drove to a beach town called Newport to visit the NOAA's Hatfield Marine Science Center. We went to go speak with a few other seismologists to talk about my research this summer and about what information we hope to gather at the end! I am going to be studying an earthquake swarm that occurred on the northern Juan de Fuca ridge (off the coast of Washington and Vancouver Island) back in August 2008. After talking to the other seismologists it made me very excited to start looking at the data! I also got to see the ship I will be on later this summer parked at the dock. Newport was really nice and had a beautiful beach! I plan on going back there a lot this summer.
Since Thursday, I am going through each earthquake and taking down information about its amplitude, duration, shape, and anything else peculiar I see. For now I am just looking at the largest earthquakes... there were a lot of earthquake in those two days of the swarm! There was at least 80 with the largest magnitude of 5.9... but there are so many more that I can see hiding in the data! I am having fun just scanning through them all and looking for interesting things. I love the idea that a so much information can be contained in a little wiggle... that is such an amazing thought for me! One thing that I have to worry about (since all the data was collected by ocean bottom seismometers and hydrophones) is whale calles and fish bumping into the instruments! I never thought I would have to worry about something like that affecting my data! I think it is cool though since I love ocean creatures, especially whales!
This weekend I went to Portland to visit some old friends. I LOVE Portland! I hope I can go live there for a while someday. We went to the top of Mount Tabor (the only major US city with a volcano within its city limits) and climbed up to the top. From the top I could see Mt St Helens!! It was my very first glimpse at it. I am so excited to go visit and climb the volcano I have heard so much about. It was too cloudy to see Mt Hood though, oh well, next time!
Tonight I will be meeting a bunch of other students that will be doing an internship at OSU for the National Science Foundations Undergraduate Research Experience. It will be nice to meet some other students that will be here for the summer! They are from all different science fields so it will be very interesting to see what they will be researching. I will be tagging along with them to go on some weekend trips and going to lectures.
Well I guess that is it for now. I am really happy I got this internship!
1. Obtain a better understanding of the research process... Everything from collecting data, processing it, to writing professional papers and presenting research
2. Gain confidence and challenge myself!
3. Learn more about computer programming and expand my skills. Learn how to think through a programming problem without getting super frustrated.
4. Obtain knowledge so that I can apply them to future research projects.
5. Learn more about myself and how I lgain knowledge.This will allow me to be aware of how I can apply that knowledge and hold on to it. I can then apply this to future schooling and general life skills
6. Learn more about oceanography with the other REU Interns at Oregon State!
7. Enjoy the beautiful Cascades! Go see volcanoes. YAY!
8. Learn to surf!
9. Have fun!