Obviously I am not an avid blogger.
Things have been moving along pretty smoothly. Sue has been fantastic to work with. I’ve been finding a lot of events – some of them look really nice, and I’m getting this “repeating earthquake” thing. It’s fantastic when looking through the output from the cross correlator and you see 5 events in a row that look exactly the same. Granted, it picks up a lot of noise as well, but I’m just excited to be seeing events buried in all those seismograms. We’re putting the subspace detector on hold. It’s also hit me how much a year’s worth of data is. It’s been a pain to organize everything, and I probably wont have time before I leave to finish running everything. I’ll be continuing work on this project throughout the year though, so my last day here isn’t as strict a deadline, which is nice.
My abstract has been written, revised and is ready to submit. It would have been submitted yesterday, but AGU’s website was being finicky for some reason. Pretty excited to get that checked off, although now I need to worry about the poster.
I’ve been making progress on the grad school search. I know I want to continue studying subduction zones, and have narrowed it down to a handful of schools. Next step is to write some emails and make some contacts.
Only two and half weeks left. I wish I had more time to focus on this project (rather than having to balance it with school, which is what will happen this fall) but I am ready to leave Socorro (it feels smaller every day) and get back to Chapel Hill.
Socorro has decided to heat up to an unbearable 110 these past few days. Which has made doing anything outside (included my daily cycle to NM Tech) exhausting. I have worked up quite the tan though. It really does cool down in the evenings though, so I've been waking up around 5 every morning and going on runs with Brian every other day at 7. I did my first 10K this past Sunday, which was really exciting.
My project seems to be moving along - the tools I am using include SAC to view the data and make templates of known events to be used in a cross correlator as well as subspace detector, both of which scan the year's worth of Cascadia data for events. By using both, I am hoping to catch more events, given that they don't always coincide when determining when the data best matches the templates. The cross correlator and subspace detector are both written by Charlotte Rowe who is currently at Los Alamos National Labs. I've also used GMT to map the locations of known events, and I use Matlab to analyze the output of the cross correlator and subspace detector.
Currently I am focusing on a small cluster of events just off the coast of Oregon, looking at the 4 closest land stations and another 4 OBS stations with the intent to spot smaller events. The idea is to move up the coast, hopefully catching activity occurring where the subducting plate is still shallow. Templates have been made, with between 3-6 per station, and I've started running the cross correlator and subspace detector for the closest land station. It's a long run, on the scale of days - 364 days is a lot of data to run through, and the cross correlator has to do a separate run for each template. The subspace detector runs with all of the templates and tries to match the data stream using a combination of the templates, so it's quicker. I'll then visually inspect the seismograms, noting times of earthquakes that have identifiable P and S wave arrivals.
Highlights of this past week includes making my first map in GMT - it is of the stations I will be using along with already catalogued earthquakes from USGS, ANF, and PNSN in the Cascadia region from July 2011 to July 2012. From there, I downloaded SAC files for the 59 offshore events to use as templates for the detection method. Now my job is to go through these files and determine which stations recorded each event.
The data set I will be working with was collected from broadband seismometers from 27 reoccupied TA stations and 62 OBS stations. The OBS stations are also equipped with pressure gauges. The data I will be looking at will run about a year, from July 25, 2011 to July 22, 2012. The Cascadia Initiative is a community project, so the data is open to anyone who wishes to view it. However, given a timing error due to the leap-year second that needed to be fixed, the OBS data has only been available since mid May. I will be looking at the raw data, and using a subspace detector method to catalog the earthquakes.
In other news - the cockroaches here are enormous, and I've discovered I have phobia for them. A sleep with the lights on, push my bed to the middle of the room so the roaches can't get to me by climbing the walls, shoving towels in the cracks under doors kind of phobia. Not to mention the spider I discovered that was nearly the size of my palm. After a spray can of Raid, however, I've been able to sleep a little more peacefully. I'm also discovering the "joys" of living with a dog. She likes to ransack garbage cans, get on my bed, run up and jump in my face, and be a general nuisance when I'm eating. Not to mention the yowling at odd hours. I'm just glad I don't have to care for the thing.
Now that I've adjusted to the altitude, I'm really enjoying running here - On Sunday Brian and I ran 5 miles (which I haven't done in nearly half a year) and this coming Sunday we're going to go further (which I haven't done ever). I'm stoked. And he has this GPS watch that draws out the route on google maps and tells you your pace. It's really awesome, and I'll probably break down and get one after this summer. I made it a goal for the year of 2013 to work myself up to a half marathon distance. (I think for now I'll keep the $60 registration fee of actually competing and focus on getting the distance...but I would like to do that too someday, soon.)
This week has been spent mostly reading articles so I can catch up in terms of understanding my project. I also completed tutorials for Unix, GMT, and SAC - still not completely comfortable, but I'm sure I'll get better as I use them. My adviser, Sue, has been really helpful in getting me settled in and started. She even connected me with a running group, and this morning I got to go on a run with a Math professor here at NMT. There's a farmer's market here on Saturday mornings, and it was a great way to start the day. It is starting to get hotter though, and it's forecasted to be over 100 degrees all next week.
Sue made this easy for me by creating a work schedule for the summer.
By the end of the summer my project's goal is to have a catalog of events from the first year of data collected from the Cascadia Initiative.
Also, by the end of the summer I would like to have a game plan for applying to graduate school - so knowing which schools I am interested in, and in what field, along with getting things in line for the application process.
I would also like to make it a goal not to die cycling to NMT every day. (Cycling in roads gives me anxiety.)
Breaking this up further:
For the first third of the internship I would like to grasp the problem I am working on, which I am currently tackling by reading articles on Cascadia, nonvolcanic tremor, low frequency earthquakes, and repeated earthquakes. Also, understanding how my project this summer impacts future research. Most immediately, I need to understand the detection method that I will be using, which is proving to be quite taxing on my brain. Within the first third, I also need to create maps of station locations, as well as previously located earthquakes.
My goal for the second third of the summer is to actually determine repeating earthquakes, within and outside tremor, using both land stations and OBS stations. I suspect this will take up the bulk of the summer, so this goal will likely not be completed by the second third of the summer, but continue into the final third.
The last third I would like to at least start with locating these events, which is listed under tasks if there is enough time in the summer. So the feasibility of this goal will depend on how long it takes to build the catalog of events. I would also like to have made progress on my poster for AGU, as well as completing an abstract to submit. This way I don't have to worry about it too much during the school year, and have only minor things to do when it's time for AGU (which is exactly when finals are...yay...)
The move in went smoothly, and I had time to wander about Socorro this afternoon. Orientation was super fun, but it’s nice to have a bit of downtime. One of my roommates is really cool – he’s an intern at VLA and ham radio enthusiast. I’ve only had the chance to introduce myself to the other.
Now for my reflection on the past week:
Admittedly, I was nervous about this week. So it’s been great to see how enthusiastic and supportive everyone is in the program. And even though I’ll probably encounter hardships and stress, everything will be okay.
This week made graduate school seem less overwhelming, since my course of action thus far has been to put off thinking about the application process. I still have no idea where I would like to go, but I’m hoping that will become clearer as the summer progresses.
All of the lectures/sessions were really helpful, as a review and introduction, since some of the material I had never seen. Tomography is no longer a complete mystery, and I’ve been introduced to GMT (yay…). I have the tools to properly use Unix. So while each session didn’t go into too much detail, it definitely gave me the resources to start to better understanding the topics and technology, which will be invaluable for this internship and graduate school.
And while we were getting a lot of information crammed in our heads, it was a lot of fun too. The trip to the Magdalena observatory was awesome (that’s the astronomy minor in me speaking). That the director started as a geophysicist showed me that my options are truly unlimited, and the knowledge I’m gaining now can help me in any field. I also enjoyed how much time we spent outside – New Mexico is so beautiful in such a unique way (at least for me, who had been as far west as Indiana prior to Sunday) and getting to learn about the history (geologic and otherwise) really enhanced the experience. I’m glad I get to stay here.
I’m excited. We’ll see what Monday brings when I get to meet my advisor.