It seems that almost everyone has heard of Mt. St. Helens. When I mention my project to people I get a mixture of responses. From my mother: “Is that the one that had that big explosion? You better be careful Gina.” From locals around the volcano: “You’re watching that one? You should be checking out Rainier, that’s the one getting ready to blow.” When I talk to geophysicists: “So you’re working on iMUSH, then? What part of the project?” iMUSH stands for Imaging Magma Under St. Helens and it has three components. There is an active source component that involves drilling boreholes and setting off explosions within the crust. Another component is a magnetotelluric survey. The last part of the project is the one that I am involved in. It is the passive part of the experiment in which 70 broadband seismometers will be deployed on and around Mt. St. Helens and will stay in place for two years. This part of the experiment will allow imaging at a much greater depth than the short period sensors. A very large component of my summer will be spent doing fieldwork. My first two and a half weeks were spent installing the seismometers. I will also go on service runs to make sure that everything is running smoothly at the sites and to retrieve the flash disks storing the data. We completed the first service run this week in order to prepare for the active source experiment. I will also be utilizing the data we just obtained in order to check the orientation of the sensors. The sensors should be oriented towards true north, but there is error involved in placing them. It is important to check this orientation and then correct for it when analyzing the data.
It's the 5th day of the IRIS intern orientation. It somehow feels much longer and much shorter than that at the same time.