This summer I will be identifying and locating volcanic earthquakes in northern Chile. The volcanoes of greatest interest to my project are Isluga, Parinacota, and Guallatiri, but we also hope to discover activity at other volcanoes in the region. This is part of a larger project where a network of seismometers has been deployed at multiple locations in Bolivia and Chile in order to create a catalog of background seismicity at many Andes volcanoes that have not been extensively monitored in the past. At a later stage in the project, we will interpret the significance of the background seismicity and try to understand the relationship between the seismicity and other volcanic activity such as deformation, gas emissions or thermal anomalies.
My internship is starting to wrap up. We’re focusing more on analyzing our results and discussing the conclusions of the project and less time picking earthquakes. I’ve been working in GMT and matlab to produce figures and attempt to find some quantitative results. Meanwhile, some of the people I’m working with are drafting a scientific paper.
The work I’ve been involved in this summer is a very preliminary study. The goal of the project was mostly just to see if there is any seismicity at any of the volcanoes where seismometers were deployed and if any of them might warrant further study. I’m struggling a little with the uncertainty that I guess is inherent when doing science in the real world. It’s sort of tough to balance honestly representing your findings and drawing significant and interesting conclusions from those findings. I feel like we’ve mostly accomplished the goal of determining which volcanoes are more seismically active, but we can’t say much about what might actually be happening or precisely where.
I calculated that I have clicked more than a million times in the antelope database to pick all of these earthquakes.
It’s been a great summer. If I choose to go to graduate school for seismology I will have a lot better idea about what I’ll be in for.
I only have about a month left in my internship. It’s going by really quickly. My last few weeks are pretty clearly mapped out. I hope to be finished picking earth quakes in the next two or three weeks and then in my final two weeks, I’ll spend my time working on my abstract, poster, and a professional paper. I think the final couple of weeks will be really interesting and at this point I just have to make one final push to get through the rest of the data.
I’m a little nervous about putting together the results from the project. I still don’t know exactly what we can say about all of the earthquakes that we have located. Luckily, I know that I’ll have lots of help when it comes to that part of the project, and I’m sure we’ll be able to produce a great finished product to present at AGU.
AGU should be interesting. I’ll potentially be presenting one poster for my IRIS project and one for my senior thesis project at New Mexico Tech. I’m also really looking forward to reuniting with all of my new friends from the IRIS program.
Ok, time to get back to work. I want to finish picking earthquakes and start looking at results ASAP!
I’m continuing to spend most of my time locating earthquakes. I’m still able to analyze about a month’s worth of seismic data per week. I think that is a pretty good pace and at this rate I should be able to get through all of the data before the end of my internship. I know that soon I need to start thinking more about an AGU abstract and a journal paper, but I think my top priority is still to get through as much of the seismic data as possible.
As I mentioned last week, I’ve been using my time this summer to think a lot about the future. I have decided to explore the possibilities in some of the other programs and universities in the region. I really love Earth Science, and I’m still very interested in geophysical research, but I’ve also started thinking that I might really enjoy sharing my passion in other ways. I’m going to talk with someone about a M.S.Ed. program focused on Outdoor and Environmental Education next week.
That’s all I can think of for now. I’m still having a great time in Ithaca.
This week I have been locating earthquakes! I’m continuing to get through about a month of data per week, and there continues to be a lot of signal left to pick through. The summer is going by really quickly. I have to go back to New Mexico August 15, so I think I am about half way through my time here.
This is the first summer, since I’ve been in school, that I haven’t been taking summer classes. It’s been interesting to be doing something that seems much more like a job than school. I think when you’re busy with classes, short term goals and deadlines it is easy to lose perspective of where you are headed in life. Since I’ve been at my internship I have been almost constantly thinking about where I am headed and what I want out of my education. I think that I’ve decided I’ll be taking a long break after I finish my B.S., before making any decisions about graduate school.
I haven’t made much progress on my work for the museum, it’s been sort of a weird week for me, but I am looking forward to making some significant progress next week.
This week, I continued to locate earthquakes with antelope. I am getting much faster at picking and locating earthquakes, I’m able to get through about a month of data per week, but there is still almost a year of data to go through.
I’ve also been working hard on my project for the museum (http://www.museumoftheearth.org/). I’m super excited to get kids (and myself) excited about earthquakes. Hopefully by next week I will have some finished products that I can actually take to the museum and see how people react to them. My goals for the display are to address the following questions:
Where do earthquakes happen?
Why do earthquakes happen?
What are waves?
How do waves travel through the earth?
What are P and S waves?
What can we learn from earthquakes?
How do we locate earthquakes?
I want to address these questions in fun and interactive ways. I think one fun thing will to have a seismometer hooked up to a laptop so that people can do different experiments to create earthquakes and see, in real-time, the resulting seismogram.
Ithaca has been great. I really like it here and I have been thinking a lot about long term plans that would involve living here.
My primary task each week continues to be locating earthquakes in Antelope to build the background seismicity catalog. This week, however, has been marked by looking ahead towards publishing our results. I spent a lot of time discussing how we might present our results in a meaningful way with my advisor and another undergraduate working on the project. We outlined the paper and talked about different types of maps and figures that we might want to use. I also started working to improve my proficiency with GMT this week. My big success of the week was to modify an existing GMT script to plot the locations of the seismometers, earthquakes, and volcanoes in the region where I’ve been locating earthquakes.
In other news, I completely broke Antelope this week. I guess it was my first major mistake in the course of the project and it took us a couple days to get it running again. I had been looking at the Antelope database files in UNIX right before it stopped working, and I was absolutely sure that I had somehow done something to cause the problem. I was really embarrassed! Anyway, after a couple emails with someone at IRIS, I don’t know if I actually did anything to cause it. We had to delete some temporary file and then everything was back to normal. I guess it was probably some sort of learning experience, but mostly I’m just relieved that I haven’t ruined the research project!
Outside of my IRIS research, I’ve been having lots of fun exploring Ithaca. I also visited an earth history museum and I am going to to start volunteering there. I’m hoping to be putting together an interactive display where kids and families can learn about earthquakes and volcanoes. I think it’ll be a great addition to my summer.
Time to get back to work! I feel like I have not met my earthquake locating quota this week since Antelope was down for two days (there isn’t actually a quota)!
This summer I'll be an IRIS intern at Cornell University where I’ll be studying the background seismicity of several volcanoes in the Andes (see my project summary).
I'm excited to be in Ithaca for the summer! I’ve met a lot of great people here and I’ve already learned a ton in the first few weeks. I also participated in the IRIS orientation week at New Mexico Tech which was fantastic.
I’ve been spending most of my time for these first few weeks working in Antelope to identify and locate earthquakes. I had never used Antelope before this internship and I’m excited to be learning to use it. I will also be using GMT to make maps and figures for a publication that we hope will result from the project. I think the experiences that I gain this summer will be of great benefit when I start applying to graduate schools.
I also really enjoyed the IRIS orientation week. I met a lot of great people and learned more seismology than I thought it was possible to learn in such a short amount of time. It was really special to be part of a group of highly motivated students who all share similar academic trajectories. I think most of the other students plan to be applying to geophysics graduate programs in the next year or two. I expect that I met several future colleagues and hope that we all stay in touch throughout the summer and beyond.
I guess that’s it for now. I’ll be sure to keep my blog up to date as the project develops.