This summer I will be working with Dr. John Nabelek at Oregon State University. Dr. Nabelek and his colleagues deployed a densely spaced array of seismometers in the Central Nevada Seismic Belt (CNSB). The CNSB is characterized by extension and normal faulting. One such normal fault is the Pleasant Valley fault, which ruptured in 1915 causing a magnitude 7.6 earthquake. This array crosses the Pleasant Valley fault, and records waves generated by teleseismic earthquakes, as well as high frequency waves from nearby mine blasts. We conduct receiver functions on these high frequency signals to image the crust. We hope to gain a better understanding of the structure of the CNSB, and of normal fault geometry in general. In particular we aim to determine the dip of these faults, whether they are listric or planar, and whether they bottom out in the mid crust or whether they become ductile shear zones at depth and continue through the lower crust and possibly into the mantle.
Friday was my last day at OSU. I got the velocity model done but I have a feeling I will still need to do more work on it, and I need to make my poster. The last week was crazy. Tuesday afternoon I was really getting somewhere with the velocity model when my project burned to the ground in front of me. No, I did not set my computer on fire, although that was tempting at the time. The numbers just weren't working out. I was extremely frustrated. But the next day my project rose from the ashes again when I realized that I'd typed in a number wrong, it was off by 1/100, and that had messed everything up. So I ended up getting a velocity model done but it is very simple. It doesn't have very many layers because we can only use certain events that are in line with the array to calculate true velocities.
Reflecting on my time this summer I know that I learned a lot. Before orietation I didn't realize how little I knew about seismology. I still don't know a lot, but I know a lot more than I did. I think this will give me a leg up when I take geophysics this fall. Sometimes I got really frustrated because my research wasn't going anywhere or I didn't think I would get a result. I thought that I was doing a bad job and letting everyone down. But after talking to John, I realized that this is how research often goes. I really enjoyed the fieldwork, but the labwork was not as easy for me. It was hard to sit in front of the computer all day and pick or write fortran files.
So will I persue seismology in the future? Who knows. I still have plenty of time to decide. Afterall I am only about to start my junior year. I like the final products of seismological research: plate motions, boundaries and images of the deep crust. However I found the process difficult and at times frustrating. So we'll see where the future takes me.
For now I have one week till school starts. I'm taking a roadtrip to Montana to visit my friend who lives near Glacier. I hear there's some cool rocks there. My computer will be staying home. See you all at AGU.
The past few weeks have been pretty busy. Since the last time I blogged I have been making headway on my project. The week before last I turned in my AGU abstract. I'm excited to go to AGU and see everone's results. Hopefully when I leave this friday I'll have some results of my own to present.
I finally have a good idea of what it is I've been working on this summer and what results I am looking for. I am making a velocity model for Pleasant Valley. My mentor and his grad students set up the array last fall, but I am the first person to look at the data. I am using refraction seismology techniques on passive source data. Passive Source data tends to complicate things. Normally for seismic refraction the event locations and origin times are known. For actuall earthquakes this isn't the case, so I have to locate earthquakes myself, or use ANSS locations if they are available. We also have to account for depth, because our sources don't occur at the surface. The linear geometry of the array also makes things difficult. To get travel times across the array I can only use events that occur in line with the array. For large events and regionally events I look in the ANSS database for events that occur in the right locations. But since there isn't good seismic network coverage in the area I need to locate small and local events myself. Sometimes this is a slow going process, but I have been making progress. This is my last week here, so ideally I will get a lot done so I don't have to spend a lot of time working on my project during the school year.
I've also been making time to explore Oregon on the weekend. Unfortunately I wasn't able to climb South Sister. Since there was a lot of late spring snow this year, the trail isn't in great condition. I would have needed snowshoes and winter stuff to do the climb, plus hiking buddies who felt comfortable with snow travel. But I did do some other fun stuff. I went obsidian hunting with some oceanography interns,so now I have a sweet obsidian collection. Last weekend I hung out with the oceanography interns again. We drove down to Crescent City, CA to see the redwoods and go ocean fishing. One intern's dad has a boat and is really into fishing so he took us out on the ocean to fish. Prior to this I hadn't ever fished, unless you count a few sorry attempts at fly fishing last summer. So I wasn't sure if I would have a good time. Now I'm hooked (no pun inteded) on fishing. It was amazing! I caught at least 6 fish, and I'm really excited to eat them. I just need to find some good recipes for rockfish.
Last week was my first forray into Fortran programming (say that 5 times fast). I'm using a Fortran based program called Hypoinverse to get preliminary earthquake locations. I was really nervous because I don't have that much computer programming experience. Programming always makes me nervous. It's so detail oriented, and I am more of a big picture person. Luckily, writing the files for Hypoinverse wasbn't that bad. I was able to cut and paste most of the code and only change a few numbers.
My Dad is pretty old school and has done a lot of Fortran programming. So when I told him that I was using Fortran he was really excited. He said that Fortran was really easy, "a lot like english". Right...well, english isn't his first language.
Over the weekend I met my parents in Portland. We had a lot of fun. Mostly we ate yummy food and walked around downtown. The farmers' market was huge and had tons of delicious berries. The fruit is amazing here.
For some reason I am havign trouble uploading photos right now but I will post some of the sonic boom traces soon.
Now for a week ?? update. It's embarassing, but I've lost track of what week of the internship this is. Things have been progressing lately; for the past few days I've been locating events that occured in line with the array. We decided to start with these because they'll be easier to work with later. Our original plan was to look for blasts from the nearby mines, however the events we thought were explosions turned out to be way to slow to be earthquakes or explosions. It's more likely that they are sonic booms from the nearby Fallon Naval Air Station. These events were interesting, but not quite what we were looking for. So for now we are looking at local earthquakes.
I haven't done that much stuff besides work the past couple of weeks, although I did make time to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II on Saturday. My childhood is officially over. I'll end with this photo:
This weekend there was a festival in Corvallis called Da Vinci Days. One of the events was sidewalk art. This was my favorite. My question for you is: who wins?
Last week was my first week back in the lab after fieldwork in Nevada. Adjusting to labwork is not going as smoothly as I'd like. After 2 weeks of summer vacation, orientation and 2 1/2 weeks of fieldwork my brain wasn't in research mode. Reading papers was a struggle, and looking at the data wasn't any better. At the end of the week I started looking at some of the data from Nevada. Friday was my first forray into picking. Some of the other interns have been doing this for a while already, but this was my first time. Needless to say it was very confusing. I left the lab on Friday afternoon feeling very discouraged. But then I remembered an article that we read in one of my science classes in high school. The details are fuzzy, but to put it bluntly the main point was: scientific research is hard, it even makes smart people feel stupid. Yesterday I spent the day picking as well, and it went a lot better. I have a feeling that I'm going to do a lot of picking, so hopefully in a little while I'll be a pro.
In other news, I finally made it out to the coast last weekend. Paige, some oceanography REU students and myself went to Newport for the weekend. The beach was really relaxing, and we got to see some cool stuff like harbor seals and tide pools. I also finally got a gym pass. I've already visited the climbing wall twice. Hopefully I'll have a chance to get on some real rocks this summer.
Now that I'm finally starting my research I figure I should set some goals:
1. Learn more about normal faulting, earthquakes and Basin and Range Geology.
2. Become more comfortable with UNIX, Matlab and/or other computer programs/languages I use.
3. Become more comfortable discussing my research with the general public as well as those with background knowledge.
4. Ask for help when I need it.
5. Set a schedule for myself so that I can get enough work done, get exercise, sleep etc.
I also have some non research related goals for this summer:
1. Cook something other than pasta, rice or quinoa.
2. Learn how to do pull-ups.
3.Climb South Sister.
Yesterday at around 1 am we arrived back in Corvallis. I moved into a dorm where I'll be living with a bunch of other REU students for the rest of the summer. I am both excited and nervous to be back and really starting to work on my project. I have a lot to do and the AGU abstract deadline is just over a month away. But at the same time I am looking forward to diving into my research.
The fieldwork took a bit longer than we anticipated. Just when we thought we were almost done we would run into something that would set us back a few days. But we finally got it all done. It will be difficult to transition from working in the field to working in the lab, but I feel up to the challenge.
This weekend I am going to take some time to explore Corvallis, as well as the coast. It should be a lot of fun.
As promised, here is a picture from Nevada:
Today is our 8th day of fieldwork. I am having a blast here in Nevada. It is absolutely beautiful here (I'll post pictures when I'm back in Corvallis). Every morning we wake up early, get coffee, and then head into the field. We have to drive off road to get to a lot of the sites. Some of our drives remind me a lot of the Canyonlands driving video from orientation.
The work is hard, but like I said I'm having fun. There's something oddly satisfying in digging. Now that I've installed and uninstalled a few station I feel like I'm getting the hang of things. Yesterday one of John's grad students, Pat, and I uninstalled a station in 40 minutes. Because we worked so fast we had our first non-casino non-Mexican meal in several days (my digestive system is extremely thankful).
Please excuse any typos in my last post, I typed it on my phone. So I actually drove, not grove, all day from Oregon to Nevada. Luckily there's two computers in the coffee shop we go to every morning; unfortunately for me this means there's no excuses for mistakes in this post .
Greetings from Winnemucca, NV! For the next two weeks I will be helping my host and two of his grad students deploy seismometers in an effort to better understand the crustal structure in this area and normal fault geometry. Yesterday we drove here from Corvallis. It was a long drive, but it was very beautiful. Crossing over the Cacades we could see many of the local volcanoes, including Three Sisters, Three Finger Jack, Broken Top, and Mt Jefferson. We also passed a tuff ring, Fort Rock, and the longest continuous fault scarp in the US. Today we organized the equipment we need for the field work and got some supplies. Tomorrow, the fieldwork begins!
After an amazing orientation at New Mexico Tech (Thanks to Michael, Rob, Rob, Rick, Pnina, Glen, Sandra, Gary, Bill, and anyone else who made orientation great) I arrived in Corvallis, OR last night.
Today was the first day of the internship. Before I met with Dr. Nabelek this morning I was really nervous because I did not know what to expect. Fortunately, Dr. Nabelek seems really nice, so I guess I didn't have anything to worry about. Dr. Nabelek showed me some pictures of the area where the array is located in Nevada and explained more about the project. He introduced me to some of the other researchers I will be working with and showed me around Burt Hall, the building I will be working with. Since it's finals week at OSU everyone is really busy, all Dr. Nabelek had me do today is get a little background knowledge on the project.
Because the reading didn't take that long I had some time to explore the OSU campus. The campus is really nice. OSU is a lot bigger than what I'm used to. It seems crazy that there are two buildings for geology, geology and ocean and atmospheric sciences alone! At my school all of the sciences share a single building. Today I found a few important things on campus. First, I located Dr. Nabelek's office, I guess it's important for me to know where this is . I also found the student union, Memorial Union, where there are a lot of places to eat. Next I went to the rec center which is HUGE and has a rock climbing wall with top roping!!!! Finally, I went to the library to finish up the UNIX tutorial. Sadly, I also got lost inside the library, and couldn't figure out how to get out.
Since this is my first post I'm going to set some goals. For one thing, I would like to learn a lot more about seismology. This isn't something I have a lot of background in (yikes!), but since I will be completely absorbed in it this summer now's a perfect time to learn more. Good thing we all got textbooks at orientation. I also plan on becoming a computer pro. Right now my knowledge of MATLAB and UNIX is very rudimentary, so I have a lot of room for improvement. Finally, I want to learn how to manage my time better. This summer will be totally different than what I'm used to schedule wise. Without classes to go to, I have to make my own schedule and make sure I get everything done on my own.
I'll post some more goals later when I know more specifics about my project.