This summer I am working at Harvard University with Dr. Miaki Ishii on developing a continuous back projection of the Moro Gulf earthquake sequence from the summer of 2010. There were three large-magnitude(M7.3, M7.6, M7.4), deep (585-640km) earthquakes that ruptured in the same area within an hour and a half of each other. 'Triplet' earthquakes at this depth or magnitude have not been recorded, which makes this sequence especially unique.
One of my major roles is to acquire data and perform any preprocessing steps that are necessary for this type of analysis. In addition, I am responsible for running the back‐projection codes and plotting the results for interpretation by the group. I will be putting in a lot of hours in the lab working mainly with UNIX, MATLAB, GMT, and some Fortran. Miaki also has a graduate student, Eric Kiser, who acts as my project leader and exposes me to all of the necessary information and resources to complete this analysis. I am extremely excited about all of the opportunities that this summer is going to bring.
Wow. The pressure is on now.
It wasn't long ago that I was arriving in New Mexico nervous and excited for a week of fun orientation activities revolving around my favorite topic: earthquakes. Orientation was an amazing week - a whirlwind of all things geophysics. We covered field work with two fun hikes, broadband station installation, and a reflection survey; and we covered lab work with common software tutorials and data analysis. This successfully prepared us all for our respective projects, which is kind of amazing since we all had varying topics of interest this summer. The only downside of the NMT orientation was that we finally met our fellow interns for a week, then we scattered all over the world and we don't get to see one another until AGU in December. However, it was pretty easy to keep in touch with the blog posts and facebook group. I am still really excited to see everyone again, though!
My biggest fear going into my summer project was not being impressive enough to my host. I worked at Harvard University, so understandably, I was intimidated. Early on, my fears were extinguished because everyone was so welcoming and helpful. Over the course of the summer I ran into some unexpected issues with the data processing, which was not my fault, but it still made me feel like I wasn’t living up to the expectations bestowed upon me. In the end, I didn’t finish everything that was included in the project description, which my host admitted was incredibly ambitious, but we have plans to continue obtaining the results so that my AGU poster and presentation will included everything. I am really excited to see what else we can find!
I really enjoyed my time at Harvard. It was an incredible experience and I learned a lot (which I was expecting, but the lessons covered broader topics than I thought). The entire IRIS Internship Program is flawless as far as I am concerned and I would recommend it to anyone pursuing geophysics.
As far as future endeavors go, I have started contacting potential grad advisors – which is a ton of pressure! But it is another area that the IRIS internship helped me with because before orientation, I was planning on going for my Master’s after graduation, however, the career panel at the end exposed me to the idea of going straight to pursuing my PhD. And skipping the Master’s. I didn’t know that was really an option, but now it is my plan. Having the internship on my resume will be a huge advantage because it taught me a lot about how this field operates. Not to mention the word “Harvard” alone should peak some interest.
Overall, this was a fantastic opportunity and I cannot express enough how many great things I got out of it.
Also, for those of you who voted for me for best blogger award, I am glad you enjoyed reading my posts as much as I enjoyed writing them! I loved all yours too!
See you in December! Can't wait!
YAY! I finally got some results yesterday, just in time for my presentation for the department. The presentation went well, then came the questions, which I struggled with a little, but it was ok overall. Anyway, here are the 3D images that show the energy release at each point for the three earthquakes. The first one is the first earthquake the 7.3. Followed by the 7.6, the 7.4 and then a figure with all three. So exciting!!!
Yay results! Each series of snapshots is taken from an animation that rotates the field of view so you can see where the energy rupture was at each point.
Today is my last day at Harvard. Miaki and I are going to go over the rubric later today to guage my progress over the summer. I will post my final update after I have officially turned over my keys. It's so strange to leave!
Last week in Boston! I can't believe I am almost done...things flew by this summer! While I am super excited and happy to be going home to MN for a week then back to San Diego for school, I can't help but feel like I am not done with Boston yet. There is way too much to do here to possibly fit it in 2 months, but I did make it to Fenway, which was my #1 tourist goal. I saw them play the Yankees (I could only get tickets through my friend), and although they are two of the teams I hate most in major league baseball, the fact that they are so iconic kind of makes up for it. The Red Sox won, and here is a picture from my seat (really awesome seat, actually). My friend almost caught a foul ball, but the giant guy next to him pushed him out of the way and grabbed it.
I also walked the Freedom Trail in Boston, which is a walking tour of some of the most historic places in the city. It's about 2.5 miles and brings you by the Boston Common, The State House, Park Street Church, The King's Chapel, the Benjamin Franklin statue, Old Corner Book Store, the site of the Boston Massacre, the Paul Revere House, and the Bunker Hill monument. I think there are other stops, but those are the ones I remember. Anyway, you can self lead the walk really easily because there is a line of red bricks in the middle of the road, which is super cool.
As far as finishing up my research project this week, I still have to look at the depth phases so I can resolve the depths of the three main earthquakes and I need to look at aftershocks to back project them properly. At this point, I am not very confident in finishing everything. I have to give a presentation to the department on Thursday, and we are going to see an infra-sound station installation in Harvard, MA (40 miles away) on Wednesday, so that gives me 2 days pretty much and that is too much to do. I haven't really worked on my poster yet...not sure when that will get done. I might just have to do it after I leave because I have too much to do here before Friday.
I am in the process of selling all of my bedroom furniture, which is weird because it's not mine, yet I am making a bit of money off of it, but I also had to clean all my stuff off, so I am very loosely packed (just chucked everything in my suitcase so the furniture can be taken out) but I will have to get creative to actually get everything to fit back inside. My mom helped me pack it to get out here and she is a magician when it comes to packing, so hopefully I can get everything in there.
People from home have completely filled my schedule for the 8 days I am home. I am really excited to see everyone, but hopefully I get enough rest before school starts up. I do have a few days in San Diego to hang out with my little sister, who is flying from MN to CA with me before school starts. We are going to Disneyland on the 25th and I am SO excited! Disneyland is my favorite place. I just wish it wasn't so expensive.
That's about all I have to report, I will probably add one more post when I am all finished and sitting at the airport. I am probably going to miss being able to say I am at Harvard. Everyone is so impressed when I say that. I kind of like being impressive.
Here is the completed version of my abstract for AGU! So relieved to have it submitted so I no longer have to worry about it.
Deep earthquakes make up approximately one-quarter of all earthquakes, yet current understanding of mechanisms for deep (300-700 km) earthquake generation fails to explain why deep range earthquakes occur. Various mechanisms, such as metastable phase change, have been proposed, however, there is a lack of observational constraints on the properties of deep earthquakes, which deter our understanding. In order to progress our knowledge of the deep earth, such as its chemistry, mineralogy, and dynamics, robust constraints on the mechanisms of deep earthquakes are required.
The goal of this project is to explore the mechanism(s) behind deep earthquakes through studying the 2010 Moro Gulf deep earthquake sequence using a continuous back-projection technique. The Moro Gulf sequence features a ‘triplet’ of earthquakes with hypocentral depths between 585 and 640 km. The triplet earthquakes are particularly unusual, because they are large magnitude events (Mw7.3, 7.6, and 7.4) that occurred within an hour and a half of each other, which does not agree with the Gutenberg-Richter relationship. No other triplet sequences of this magnitude have been recorded within such a short time period. Another anomalous characteristic of these earthquakes is the emergent waveforms of the sequence. Typically, deep earthquakes have impulsive waveforms, which is thought to be associated with more rapid stress drop than shallow events, for which the stress drop occurs more gradually.
The back-projection technique is an efficient method to constrain earthquake rupture properties, such as rupture direction, rupture speed, location, timing, and relative energy release of an earthquake. It requires high-quality data from a dense network of seismic stations covering a large area, and we use data from the High-Sensitivity Seismograph Network (Hi-net) in Japan and US Transportable Array (US-TA). The technique creates a grid of potential source locations around the hypocenter. The seismograms are time-shifted and stacked at each grid point. The data from the three earthquakes are filtered to a frequency range of 0.8-2 Hz in order to maximize the resolution from the back-projection, and to capture the first arriving P-waves in the waveforms. Another crucial step is aligning the P- and PKP(DF)-phases for Hi-net and US-TA, respectively. Since alignment has a strong influence on the back-projection, we aligned the US-TA phases using an aftershock because smaller magnitude earthquakes often improve alignment.
The back-projection technique has been used in previous studies to investigate both shallow (0-100 km) and intermediate-depth (100-300 km) earthquakes. Using back-projection on deep earthquakes is expected to increase depth resolution results from the incorporation of depth phases, that, when combined with downward take-off phases, reveal a more accurate hypocentral depth. Also, better spatial resolution is achieved by the combination of the Hi-net and US-TA arrays, which overlap signals at a more accurate location of the rupture. Back-projection analysis of the Moro Gulf sequence is expected to provide a detailed rupture process of these deep events with high depth and spatial resolution.
Ok, so Eric looked over the code all weekend and couldn't find what was wrong with it, but he went though and back projected the HINET data from scratch and it seemed to work, meaning the data got screwed up somewhere along the line. So now I have to go back and start from scratch AGAIN to see if I can make it work. I am running the alignment code right now so hopefully now that I have done this about 100 times or so, it will go quickly.
(**little update** It still didn't work on my machine, but it worked on Eric's...that makes no sense to me, but Eric is transferring the raw code over to my machine to see if that fixes things. Fingers crossed because if that doesn't work, we will both be shooting in the dark as to what it is that isn't working. Also, I am hoping that the problem with the HINET data doesn't affect the TA data because they both take so long to fix and things are down to the wire!)
(**little update#2** There was something wrong with the data. Not the code. I don't really know if that is better or worse, but Eric got new data and it works better! Below is a figure of the HINET data that is lookin' good! Such great news even though I still have a long way to go before we are out of the woods!)
I have two weeks left and I have a long list of tasks to finish. I have to finish my abstract (today or tomorrow), back project everything successfully, look at depth phases (which I haven't even been briefed about), figure out why in the world deep earthquakes occur and the mechanism behind them, create a presentation to deliver to the department, and oh, I should probably put my poster together too. Oh man.
During my remaining time in Boston, I also have to contact more grad advisors, figure out my registration issues for fall semester from 3000 miles away when they insist I talk to them in person, pack, sell all of the bedroom furniture I have been using (thank goodness for Craigslist), get last minute souvenirs for friends and family, and sleep. The last one is my favorite.
I hope all of that is possible. Wish me luck!
This past week I went back and re-filtered all my data to sync everything up (time, location, depth, and magnitude) so I could properly combine the TA and HINET arrays in the back projection code. I successfully did all that (the second time around anyway) and started combining the arrays and getting the back projection results and getting super excited that something this summer was working the way we expected and then BAM! The back projection animation looked funky. The code allows me to plug in all the information for one array, then a ton of other data and then the info for the other array and the code weights the arrays so that I get a pretty picture. Well, turns out the weighting hard wired into the code is way off for whatever reason, so when I put the TA data in as my first array, the TA animation dominates and you can barely see any trace of the HINET and vice versa when the HINET data is first. So this is no good since they should look the same no matter which array I input first. Therefore, Eric is going to take a look at the code, which I am super thankful for because if I had to try and figure out a code that's not even mine, it would take the rest of the year probably. Another issue that I noticed is that the HINET animation looks really, really noisy with the new 3D code, which I am not sure what to do with yet. I am sure Eric will address that too. The picture below is the back projection results for the TA (top) and HINET (bottom) when each are dominant. The top sequence and bottom sequence should look the same. Obviously, that is not the case. And you can see how noisy the HINET is. Uh oh.
Since Eric is currently working on a paper that he has to submit soon, fixing the code is on the back burner for today, which leaves me with two options: look at depth phases in the data or start my AGU abstract. Since I have been stressing a little about the abstract, I am going to work on that first. Even though we don't have any results yet, I can work on introducing the back projection technique and some of our methods and hopefully next week we can splice the results into it before submission.
In other news, I am now 21 years old. Which doesn't mean too much for me since I don't drink at all, but I still had a super fun birthday. Although I had to work all day, I still went out to dinner at a yummy italian restaurant and all my friends from home called to wish me a happy birthday. My sister sent me a box full of balloons and decorations, and now it looks like my room is being taken over by the balloons. I am going to Providence this weekend with my friend from MN, and that will be a good time. I am definitely looking forward to it.
That's about all I have to report. I have been increasing my hours at the lab to finish in time. Hopefully I can still pull this off!
Ok, so I am kind of getting sick of this whole 2 steps forward 1 step back thing(I know I switched them, but 2 and 1 is more relevant to my experience). In order to combine my arrays with the TA data aligned with an aftershock, I needed to sync the time, location, depth, and magnitude information for both arrays. No problem there. I also had to filter both of them so all my data had the same sampling rate. So I went through and did that, but ended up having to decrease my sampling rate to 0.2 (from 0.05 for the TA data and 0.02 for the HINET data). Then I went through and realigned all the HINET data (which takes about an hour each because there is so much data) based on this new sampling rate only to be told at today's group meeting that the HINET originally had a sampling rate of 0.01 instead of 0.02, meaning I originally filtered it with a decimation factor of 2 instead of 1 (which was week 1 when I didn't know what a decimation factor really was and was only following Eric's instructions) then ended up re-filtering it yesterday, which isn't good. So now I am going back to re-filter all the original HINET data so I will have a sampling rate of 0.1, but that means I also have to re-filter all the TA data again too AND I have to redo ALL of my alignments for the bazillionth time! Gah! So yeah, needless to say I will be putting in extra hours to do that.
On the semi-bright side, Eric is going to go in and do the deep phase alignments so they are ready to go whenever I get done with the P and PcP alignments. Although it is very nice and efficient of him to do this, I still feel bad that he has to do what would have been my work and put his own on the back burner because these earthquakes are so complicated and everything keeps going wrong. Also on the bright side, I got some tips from Miaki on how to write an abstract when you don't have any results yet. I better get cracking on that this weekend so I can ask Miaki and Eric for feedback before the deadline. My fingers are still crossed that this is the last thing that goes wrong, but this summer has obeyed Murphy's Law to a T, so I won't hold my breath.
It's my birthday on Monday, and although I will have to work all day, this weekend I have carved out some time to celebrate with friends. I just hope the heat doesn't deter any of our plans. This past week or so I have been way jealous of Caroline B. since she is currently experiencing Australian winter. I could definitely use some relief, as I am sure all of the other interns could too. If I had a couple thousand dollars laying around, I would totally fly to the southern hemisphere. For now, though, I will just stick to the AC on full blast.
A couple weeks ago, we had a webinar that addressed methods of describing your research in ways that are geared toward more general audiences who are not familiar with the jargon or common techniques of your field. After the webinar, we were assigned a task to create a 500 word description of our summer research project that is appropriate for a 15-18 year-old audience. The following paragraph is the desciption I wrote:
My research revolves around deep earthquakes. Deep earthquakes are important to research because they reveal pieces of information about the composition, movement, and development of our Earth. For my project, I am analyzing one sequence of three major earthquakes and their aftershocks. There are three main shocks with magnitudes of 7.3, 7.6, and 7.4 that occurred in the same area in the Moro Gulf of the Philippines at depths of 585-640 km. In order to analyze these three earthquakes, I use computer scripts, which are a set of commands and variables for the computer to run that changes the data into a file I can use to visualize the waveforms. The image that I see has a lot of horizontal wavy lines that show me information about the earthquake. Small waves mean small parts of the earthquake, and the large peaks are the strong parts of the earthquake. Typically, deep earthquakes show a flat part, then a sudden series of large peaks before it dies down to smaller peaks. The sudden large peaks mean the earthquake is impulsive. If the size of the peaks grows more gradually, that is, flat then small peaks, then large peaks, then small peaks again, the earthquake is emergent. This set of three earthquakes is emergent, even though deep earthquakes are usually impulsive. This means that these earthquakes are very unique and definitely worth learning about because they could reveal new information about the deep Earth. Once I have this image, I change some of the variables in the computer scripts to make the first wave shift slightly and line up. I align the first waves of the waveforms because the amount of shift necessary to line them up is important in the next step. Once the first waves are aligned for all of the lines, I run more scripts that change the data into maps that show me the coastline, epicenter, which is the point where the earthquake began, and a burst of color that shows the ground motion caused by the earthquake. For each of these maps, I can also create an animation that shows the color from the ground motion move across the screen and show me where the earthquakes are on the map and how they moved during the time period of the earthquake. The animations are called back-projections and they are used to visualize earthquakes. Once I finish the back-projections for the three main events, I will incorporate the aftershock data into the computer scripts and combine all of the animations into one that will show me all of the earthquakes from the Moro Gulf sequence. Hopefully when this is finished, I will identify something about deep earthquakes that is not yet known.
Good news on the back projection front! The technique of using the aftershock to align the main events increased our resolution to an encouraging threshold last week. I aligned each of the main events from the TA array with the aftershock, and there is more usable information so that feels good! Next I have to incorporate the HINET array by combining the TA and HINET data into what will, hopefully, be the winning combination and show us what we're looking for. Although things have not exactly been ideal on the research front, I am optimistic about where things are headed. I just hope they get crackin' because I would like to liven my abstract up a bit before the deadline on Aug. 4h, which is not only coming up way too fast, but is also a week before my research is supposed to be over! So yeah, I will be keeping my fingers crossed until we reveal some more interesting insights into deep earthquakes.
I took my GRE on Friday and did relatively well. I did about as well as I expected, but a part of me hoped I would rock the socks off that test so I didn't have to worry about it again. I am right on the cusp of deciding wether to take it again or not, I am going to talk to the people who I am interested in working with a bit before I decide to see if they think taking it again would increase my chances of getting into their program. Hopefully they agree and think it is good enough because I really don't want to take it again.
Next monday is my 21st birthday, and my friend Amanda and I are going to spend the day in Providence to celebrate on the 23rd. I am so excited to see her! She is working at Yale this summer and it's always fun to hear what she's up to. I am not even sure what we are going to do in Providence, but I'm sure we'll find something.
I finally managed to take a dip in the Atlantic last weekend. I think I prefer the Pacific, but I don't have any concrete reasoning behind it. I also finally got my tickets to Fenway for a game in a couple weeks and I am so excited to see the park! After my GRE I had my first experience on the Boston subway and learned that everyone who told me it was really easy to get around Boston on their mass transit was correct. You can go just about everywhere! I love things that are convenient.
That's about all of the updates I have this week, I will keep you posted on my progress!
I spent the last week working with a smaller event (a M5.7 aftershock) from the TA array in attempt to align the three larger earthquakes with this one and resolve all of the array and network issues I have been having for the past month or so. I just finished back projecting the aftershock-mainshock alignments and they still smear in the same direction as the HINET array, which as I recall was the original issue. I have yet to discuss this with Eric, as I will do this afternoon, but I am really hoping this miraculously works because not only am I behind schedule, but also incredibly sick of doing the same thing over and over and over. I could use a little something to spice up my life a bit. The positive thing is that the new back projections are better than the original TA animations, but I am not quite sure if they are usable yet. I am having lunch with Miaki and the group tomorrow, and it would be great to have something positive to report, rather than the same old thing. Fingers crossed. Below is my latest screen shot - at least I work with pretty colors to keep myself from going nuts. This is the only reason a 27" screen is useful - to open a whole bunch of windows and be able to see all of them!
I don't really have much else to report. I am taking the GRE on Friday, so studying for that has been monopolizing my free time. I convinced myself that once it was over I could relax, but reality has set in and I realize that I have registration, grad school contacts, and a lot of other logistic responsibilities before I can take it easy. I guess I should be used to that by now, but I just have to take it one step at a time.
Since I am keeping so busy, this summer is flying by! I can't believe it is the middle of July already and that I will be back at school in 6 weeks. Honestly, it will be good for my life to regulate itself again. I have been bouncing around all over the place this summer, which has been sweet, but it is always nice to go back to San Diego and have things calm down a bit.
I will (hopefully) have good news and new things to post about next time. Until then...
So I didn't get much of a chance to work wit the European data to see if it will solve the issues we've been having, but now I am going back my old friend, the TA array. Although the back projections turned out weird and smeared in the same direction as the HINET (which is our sort-of base array that has stayed the same throughout this process), we are taking a new approach with the P-alignments to try and remedy the smearing issue. To accomplish this, we are aligning a smaller deep aftershock associated with the original 3 events, aligning it (which is easier due to its more impulsive waveforms), then using it as a base to align the three larger magnitude earthquakes. We hope that this will give us a better alignment and solve our back projection issue. If not, I don't know what we are going to try.
It's interesting because Eric and Miaki expected the alignments to be no problem. However, due to the uniqueness of these earthquakes (the fact that they are pretty emergent for deep earthquakes) is causing some issues with the way they usually perform the back projection technique. Once we finally get data we can use, Eric assures me we will make great leaps as the rest of the internship progresses and by the time the AGU abstract submission deadline approaches.
The first few weeks I spent here I didn't have much to do and I was kind of moping around due to boredom, but I realized today that I have plans every weekend until school starts back up again. Who knew I actually had a life? I sure didn't.
The Boston Pop's Fireworks Spectacular was a lot of fun! I walked about 2 miles down to MIT and found a perfect spot for viewing. I was advised to go early and make a day of it, so I got there around 5:30 (fireworks were scheduled for 10:30) and I was sort of surprised there wasn't more to do. People were just sitting around on their blankets like a mass picnic. I expected more of a carnival I guess, with food and maybe some games or something. On the opposite side of the river, there was a concert hall where Martina McBride and Michael Chiklis performed (along with some other instrumental performances). I didn't go over there, but it is more likely there were more entertaining things to do since that was the base for most of the events. That's ok, though I had plenty of studying time for the GRE. I am just glad I remembered to bring my book. If I were to go again, and opt out of the concert- related festivities, I would get there 2 hours early instead of 5. The flyover was cool, and the fireworks were great. I expected the 'grande finale' to be a lot grander. It struck me as being incredibly short. But it was still a fun night out.
Today a high school friend of mine was visiting Harvard with a group of kids she is teaching this summer through a program at Yale, so we got to meet up and take a couple pictures at Harvard. It is so fun and exciting to share this place with someone from home. Not to mention spending time with a great friend. Although we both had to work today, it was great seeing her. I am also going to see her during a trip we are taking to Providence. Since it is about half way between Yale and Harvard, we are going to meet up the weekend before my birthday to celebrate. I am really looking forward to it. I also found out this week that a college friend of mine is going to be on the east coast to check out some grad schools and she is organizing a stop in Boston to see me for a few days! That should be a ton of fun too! I cannot overstate how much fun it is to share new places with people who actually know you (instead of the the friends that I just met).
This turned into a considerably longer post than I intended, so I guess I will update once we get over this next step. I hope we do soon because these P-waves are starting to drive me a little crazy.
Ok, so after the TA array not working out I spent all week trying the Australian and New Zealand arrays and finally got it all the way through the P-alignments and back projection only to be told it still won't work. Drat. Now I am downloading data from yet another network of arrays, this time in Europe then I will have to run MORE P-alignments and back project those into what will (hopefully) be the winning combination so I can move on to more interesting things. So all in all, I am trying to stay positive after my second week of hard work that has turned useless.
In other news, on Monday I am going down to the huge 4th of July celebration by the Charles River here in Boston. Luckily I will be able to walk to the river and hang out in the sun all day and see one of the best fireworks displays in the country (my favorite part)! I will be charging my camera tonight so I can document. Although my camera is definitely not designed for fireworks pictures, I will try to get some good ones to share on here. I will also be spending quite a bit of time studying for the GRE, which I take July 15th...it's coming up way too fast! I'm not ready yet, but hopefully I will be. I am going to try and study outside because I have been cooped up in the computer lab for 3 weeks now and I need some vitamin D! I am probably going to be laughed at once I get back to MN and San Diego because I will have started the summer with a better tan than at the end. So strange. Anyway, that's about all I have for now, I have to get a jump on my P-alignments before the long weekend.
Happy 4th of July!
So in my last post I mentioned how the TA array may not work at all. Well that has been confirmed. Now I have moved on to using the Australian and New Zealand arrays to see if they work better and my first couple P-alignments do not look good. Below is a sample and you don't even need to know what a P-wave is to know that that is not right.
Looks like I have some more frustrating days ahead of me. I will keep you posted on my progress, which hopefully comes soon.
Ok, so after having an extremely productive first week, my second week follows an entirely different trend. After processing all the data and combining my arrays and thinking I was super efficient and awesome, Eric informs me that we can't use it because both arrays are smearing in the same direction (which makes all my work essentially worthless). It's not my fault, which is comforting, but I do have start back at square one with more P-alignments - which I find mind-numbingly boring. I basically run the same 4 scripts over and over and over changing little variables as I go. I have spent more of this week waiting for my scripts to run than actually running them.
There is a chance that the US-TA array will be unusable, meaning I will go through this whole P-wave alignment AND back projection just to reveal that I have to find an entirely new array (and risk the same problem again). Fingers are crossed that this is not the case, but I guess that's just how research goes. If you knew what would happen, you wouldn't be doing it in the first place.
Aside from road blocks in the research this week, life outside the lab has been great. On Sunday Miaki had a doctor from Japan come to visit and we all went out to lunch at this really fancy restaurant called the Faculty Club. It's buffet style with all different types of food - sushi, seafood, chicken, steak, fancy veggies, soups, customizable omelets, waffles, fresh fruit, a super giant dessert table with things that I didn't even recognize...etc...I think you get my point. It was really nice and the doctor (he had a Japanese name that I cannot spell nor pronounce) was really friendly. He wanted to meet with the group because he was in Japan during the recent earthquakes (actually provided medical care to tsunami victims, very cool) and wanted to learn more about the science behind it. There was a bit of a language barrier, but Miaki was able to translate most of the things he couldn't say in English. After the meal, where we were all instructed to eat as much as possible since it was so expensive, we went back to the lab to talk and the doctor showed us some slideshows and described more about the conditions of people in Japan. I really appreciated him telling us about it, because as a scientist I was excited about the earthquake, and oftentimes it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement and downplay the fact that there are people there who died, lost everything, and are suffering. So it definitely resurrected the human compassion in all of us who have been more focused on learning about the earthquake.
Cambridge is exactly what I thought it would be like. Tons of big brick buildings, plenty of trees lining the rough roads, and all of the houses here look like they were designed by the same guy. The restaurants around here are unlike most places. You won't see the typical fast food chains, but tons of foreign cuisines all clustered together. I have never seen so many Indian and Portuguese places in my life. There are some restaurants from home I wish were out here, but at the same time it's fun to try new places. And I love that everything is within easy walking distance. It makes life a lot easier for me.
Since my first full weekend was kind of monopolized by work, I haven't branched out into other parts of Boston yet, but that is definitely on the list. I think I will aim for Fenway tickets first, it's just so unfortunate that the Twins don't play the Red Sox when I'm here... sad day.
I should return to my P-alignments. They need some TLC because they are being particularly stubborn today. I will post more when my life gets more exciting!
At the end of last week I was able to finagle my way through GMT to create mapped images of the back projections for my 3 earthquakes at both arrays I am using. Michael is working on a way to upload or link to the actual animations, but for now, here is a picture of all 6 of the windows I used.
The top 3 are from the HINET array, and the bottom 3 are from the TA array. I have yet to see enough of these images to really understand what they tell me, but hopefully Eric can clue me in as to what we can gain from these images.
After meeting with Miaki, Eric and Petris on Thursday, we all agree that there are some strange behaviors associated with this earthquake sequence. They don't really follow the characteristics assigned to them by textbooks. Although it is too early to draw conclusions and infer results from what we have, I am excited to be here as we reveal further complexities with these deep earthquakes and (hopefully) unveil a new piece of the puzzle.
I spent the first 3.5 days of my internship aligning P-waves for my three earthquakes from both the HINET array and the TA array. Basically, I plugged in arbitrary (to me) variables into three scripts to try and get the first arrivals at all of the stations to line up. Lots of UNIX work, but they are finally good enough! I will probably get more specific later on in the project, but right now I get to move on to the fun stuff. Eric is going to show how to perform the back projection after lunch.
Anyway, here are a couple screenshots of my aligned P-waves. They are not perfect, but they are good enough for me to move on to the back projections.
In other news, I toured campus a little more yesterday and I am starting to figure out where things are. I haven't met many people yet, but hopefully that will change soon. Lizzie has put me in contact with some of her friends out here, so hopefully I will get a little social interaction on the side of my research.
Off to lunch! I will post again soon.
I am currently concluding my first day at work, and while it is still fresh in my mind, I figured I would share it with you. Overall I learned a ton already and I am so happy and excited I get to spend my summer here.
I will start with the good news, then the bad news, then more good news because I always like to end on a high note.
Good news - round 1: Although my advisor will not be able to come into the office until Wednesday, I got to work with her grad student, Eric. Eric is super nice, helpful, and knowledgeable. I am sure all the work he has done with the back projection technique will come in handy. I spent all day on UNIX and learned a few tricks of the trade. My project focuses on 3 specific earthquakes so I retrieved the data from two separate databases and have been plugging and chugging along using scripts that Eric gave me. Also, I got a quick tour of the building (I am working in the Harvard University Natural History Museum building, how cool is that?) and met a few of the administrative people - all of whom were very nice and welcoming. I was offered 3 different desks in 3 different rooms, which I found a bit strange, but I ended up just picking the one nearest to Eric since he is such a good resource. That way we don't have to run around all time looking for each other.
Now the bad news - as I was running these scripts I had to align the P-wave arrivals of the records from each station for each earthquake (3 plots with lots of squiggly lines) and my first one refused to align. I spent 5 hours arbitrarily plugging in whatever numbers I could think of to try and get the stupid P-waves to line up and it just wasn't happening. I didn't know which numbers to change in the 4 scripts I had to use to get the plot and it was just a total failure, well to me. Eric said I got it to the point that it was good for now but I would have to go back and tweak it later.
Ok so more good news - Miaki and Eric are taking me to lunch on Thursday to "properly welcome me." Also tomorrow Eric and I are going to BU during lunch for a lecture on thermal mechanics of oceanic transform faults. Although it is not directly related to our project, it is really nice to be able to learn even more about other seismic endeavors people are researching. It's definitely a good way to keep up to date on the field.
On a totally random note, I think I saw Tom Rockwell on campus today. This is strange because he is a professor at my school in San Diego and I saw him at Harvard...I have only seen him once in San Diego and I saw him 3 times today. VERY WEIRD. I know you guys don't know who he is, but he is a very respected member of the seismic community. I think I will take the opportunity to finally introduce myself.
That's all I have for now. I am going to go find food. Lizzie gave me a whole list of places to eat, so I better get crackin'.
I just finished my first self-led mini-tour of Boston. I walked up to Harvard campus and located the building I will be working in. It is kind of a long walk, but I am sure I will get used to it soon enough.
Tonight is going to be dedicated to finishing the readings I am expected to ask questions about on Monday/Tuesday. My advisor, Miaki, is not going to be there on Monday so I am just meeting with her grad student, Eric. I am excited to get to work, but still nervous about what it will be like - similar to the butterflies I get on the first day of school.
Since I have yet to begin, I don't have much to report on, but I did ride in a taxi for the first time in my life. It was a little strange but went smoothly. I think I will rely on the cheaper modes of transportation around here for the most part, though.
My living situation seems stable. I have one roommate and she seems really nice. Not sure how to establish a real connection with her because I am bad at that sort of thing, but she is going to show me around a bit tomorrow, so hopefully things will just mesh on their own.
That's all I have for now. I hope everyone else is enjoying their projects!
Aside from the research goals that have already been laid out for me concerning my research project, I have a few more to add in order to maximize the outcomes of my summer experience at Harvard University.
First, it has become increasingly vital for me to meet people. Typically I struggle with 'small talk', which makes establishing new lasting friendships a bit challenging. Since I currently do not know anyone in the Boston area, I promised myself I would become more outgoing in order to create relationships both in the seismology department and outside of the lab. Another component of this is going to be seeing the sights in Boston. I have heard nothing but good things about the area, and since I have the opportunity to spend a significant amount of time there, I definitely do not want to waste any time while I am visiting.
Second, another goal more outside the lab is going to be narrowing my search for graduate school programs. I will be a senior this fall and this is definitely the next step in determining not only where I want to continue my education, but also specify areas of reasearch I would like to dedicate my time to. I also need to take the GREs, which take a lot of preparation, too. Oh man.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, I want to not only complete the project, but I want to do it well. Struggling through the entirety of the reasearch is not going to make this experience a good one, so I am going to put in however much work is necessary in order to impress my host and make sure this is a positive experience all around.
That's all I have for now; I am sure once things get going I will have more to add. I will keep you posted.