With a one of a kind 13,000 kilogram (about 28,000 pound) pile driver, members of Sandia National Labs have hammered the desert floor and acquired seismic data spanning nearly 30 kilometers across Yucca Flat, Nevada. I am going to take that data and utilize a technique called Refraction Microtremor (ReMi), which takes advantage of linear arrays of geophones in order to record seismic data. This data has to then be processed in order to eliminate outside noise, requiring transforms from velocity and time into slowness and frequency. Then, I will be able to extract the surface wave data in order to create an image of the subsurface at Yucca Flat. The goal is to be able to get a more detailed structural understanding of the flat, which benefits the next phase of the Source Physics Experiment (SPE). SPE is a project which intends to learn more about underground explosions.
Making final living situation plans for the extension of my internship made me realize -- holy crap, I'm done in less than four weeks! I have a lot of stuff to do, but I wanted to throw a quick update in here. Things are...well, they're going. I made a code to run over the weekend which, well, didn't, so then I got to spend all day Tuesday letting it run. Monday, though, I went and did some field work with Hunter and her husband, James, down in Socorro. I'm pretty surse it was a crosshole sonic logging test, but I could be wrong. I learned how to pull, and I did some of the calculations and helped with measurements. We were racing against the monsoon storms though, and so I didn't really want to slow us down with my 30 seconds of experience vs James' 10 years. Regardless, we had to get off the mountain early because of lightning.
Right now, I've just run ReMi on all my shots and I just went through them all yesterday to make sure none of them look crazy weird or anything...they don't, which is wonderful. Yesterday I also did all the fundamental mode picks and today I'm organizing them to create a massive dispersion curve graph just to see how it's looking. I have to figure out how to grab out 20 m and 2 km offsets today, and then set it up to do just that. I'll probably sort the code today and tomorrow and let it run over the weekend. I might even come in on Sunday to make sure it didn't fail.
This weekend is my first weekend in Albuquerque since the weekends surrounding orientation, and you know, it's kind of nice. I'm going to an Isotopes baseball game on Saturday with two of the graduate interns, David and Stephanie, and I intend to spend most of the weekend making my CV and starting to reach out to potential graduate advisors. First, though, I need to add to my very short list of people who interest me, so I'll be spending a lot of Saturday morning at Starbucks, probably, looking through university websites and reading people's research. I want to see if I can meet with any potential UNM advisors while I'm still here, since I live across the street right now. This is all very nerve-wracking but exciting.
One last thing: I've discovered that listening to audiobooks (in my case, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on youtube) while I work has kept me really well focused as compared to listening to music. Protip? Who knows!
Alright, back at it! Have a great weekend! Later days!
Good morning readers!
My apologies for a lack of blog post last week. I don’t know how, but I never managed to get around to it.
I have some seriously excellent news, though. We got data! No, but for real this time. No bugs, no problems, we are full steam ahead! I had my first ever half day meeting on Friday to talk to Mr. Hampshire about the data and to plan for the next phase of Thor, which is the seismic hammer project. I had spent most of last week working with our latest batch of test data, running it through our ReMi code and seeing if things looked washed out. Then I'd run it through the Dix equation code we have, and eventually I looked at if there was any kid of a pattern going from North to South with our dispersion curves. Luckily, there was!!
For example, here's a pretty good ReMi:
There's a pretty good fundamental mode, which is the left and bottom-most chunk of high energy in this case. It's not the best, but this is completely unstacked and not QC'd. To appreciate this better, here's a less than great one:
It's completely scalloped. This might not seem great, but this was a pretty big improvement on previous data, mostly just because I could actually do ReMi on this. Plus, because once I compared all my dispersion curves, they actually formed something of a pattern!:
These particular curves go from North to South in Indigo to Red rainbow order. These weren't evenly distributed shots, but random ones that John had sent us to check out. I'm going to be doing something very similar with the actual data once I get it all. But this is good! There's a vague pattern. And Rob did a quick run with stacking and it looks even better then.
I spent all day yesterday QCing the data, that is, going through images that David had produced of the plots and determining which ones are terrible and which ones are definitely usable. Each shot point is supposed to have about 32 files, but some had more and that’s usually because a double hit accidentally occurred or something — basically, they were aware something had gone slightly awry and had done some more hits. This gives us wiggle room to get rid of some of the uglier ones.
As for my poster and abstract, Hunter had wanted me to have my abstract done by this week but she's unfortunately out sick. I have most of it done, but I've never written anything technical or similar before so I'm a little scared of how badly she's gonna tear it apart. I've been told that there's a poster template that I'll be following, which is something of a relief. Based off the posters around the office here, though, I imagine I'm going to be going with a system very similar to what Nealey mentioned in her blog: Left-most column will include my abstract and background (including my slaved-over GMT maps!). Middle column will have methods and results, including pictures of our seismic hammer, ReMi plots, velocity models (I say this as plural, but really it's probably like 2). The right-most column will possibly have any more results, and conclusions, then references and acknowledgements.
On the adventure front, I actually flew home last weekend! It was my mom’s birthday on Thursday and I wanted to surprise her. She was pretty happy, and I got to see most of my friends. One of my friends even held a cook out, so it was a pretty great weekend. It was nice being home for a little while, I had missed all of them, and my cat. While it was beautiful and green, it was also rather humid, and due to storms in Chicago, I got stuck at LaGuardia for a lot longer than I had anticipated. Oh well. This weekend, I’m going to visit my aunt in Phoenix. I think we might go to the grand canyon? I’m not really sure.
Okay, back to the grind! Hope everybody’s week is going well!
I hope everybody's lead up to the fourth of July is going swimmingly. Personally, I have been feeling mighty patriotic, courtesy of the US Women's National Soccer Team putting up a solid fight against Germany in the Women's World Cup yesterday. Depending on the winner of today's match, they're up against Japan or England, both formidable opponents.
But you aren't here to hear about my undying love of soccer, you're here for my love of science! Well, we are still playing the waiting game. Every new data set that we get has something at least slightly amiss, so we're working closely with the company who collected the data to find the problems. I've mostly been getting each new file (he's just send over a file at a time for us to check out now), and running it through my code to see how it looks. So far, no bueno. Something is off, but we haven't found where, and neither has he.
In the meantime, I've been trying to keep busy, as always. Using the skills I learned from that last map I posted, I've been continuing bits and pieces to improve my GMT map. Still not completed, but this is what I have so far:
I've also been exploring other ways of organizing my data at the suggestion of Rob, but with how the data is currently being presented, it's a little difficult due to inconsistencies. Also, late last week, I had something pointed out to me: I don't really fully understand what I'm doing. I mean, that's not surprising. I have geophysics, and two general physics courses under my belt, so I really shouldn't expect to be at the same level of understanding as a graduate student. But I was so focused on trying to learn the code and the "how" to do the inversions, that I didn't stop to think "why." Like I know what the dispersion curve is supposed to look like, and the velocity model, but if you asked what kind of information I could glean from it, I wouldn't be able to tell you on the fly without some serious thought first. Just a slight jab at my pride. So, I've been assigned some literature, and I've been working on getting a better understanding. The intro to seismology book that I'm using isn't very simple though, and I will admit that I've fallen asleep reading it. Luckily, I have the internet, so I'm going to try to continue to explore my options in expanding my knowledge.
As always, I have to update you on my Western exploration. This weekend, I stayed more local. I think I mentioned, I had planned on going to the Caverns and White Sands, as well as rock hounding. Well, the girls who were going to go with us were unable, and when I went to the rental place they were out of cars! But, they did have small SUVs, so I ended up with a Jeep Cherokee for the weekend for the price of a car...which meant we were going camping! We did end up visiting White Sands, but then headed up to Cloudcroft and camped in Lincoln National Forest, which is definitely above 8,000 feet.
Wait, am I in New Mexico!?
On the way down there, we drove the whole Quebradas scenic byway, and on the way home we stopped at San Lorenzo canyon! It was fun revisiting the sites, and we saw several roadrunners and a family of quails!
On a less fun note, my mom crashed my car back home this past weekend. Fortunately, she was fine but my car is totaled, so I'm going to have to be a lot more frugal about my adventures from here on out to ensure that I can afford to buy a new car in August. One last big adventure though: I have the money set aside for this weekend, although I'm letting Danielle plan it so I don't actually know what we're doing, but we will definitely be camping in Colorado. Maybe even seeing the Colorado Rapids take on the Vancouver White Caps with some fireworks on Saturday, but we will see.
Happy Thursday, readers!
I have some good news! WE GOT DATA! Woo! The bad news is, the program that David is working with is being entirely uncooperative and he's doing QC and stacking before I can touch it so... well, here we are, haha. He's been really awesome in that he's given me snippets here and there, so I've got some code ready for whenever I do get the whole thing that will (hopefully) chug through the data relatively quickly.
That's actually what I'm going to do today -- he just gave me a chunk of data from one of the shots (there are many, many shots), so I'm going to tweak my code a bit more. I was going to do it yesterday, but the GMT assignment took a bit more focus to figure out than I had anticipated. Speaking of which, here is that map:
Getting my code working, one bit at a time, has been my main focus, but I've also been trying to get my GMT maps to look even nicer (including spending way too much time coming up with a custom color palette file because I don't like any of the pre-built in ones. I'm sorry, the desert should not have any blue in it, even if it's just a topo map). We also have some previous seismic surveys that were taken in random parts of the flat, so I've made a list of which ones intersect our site, and I have to look at the data from those surveys and see if there's anything we should expect at those intersections. Unfortunately, the site where those files are kept appears to be down this week, so that might be a Monday project.
Probably the most frustrating thing about this whole thing has been the data, or rather lack thereof. Trying to come up with code using other data sets, which are often rather different or whose headers are incomplete to the point of uselessness has certainly made things interesting. There is a bright silver lining, though: man, am I learning to be patient. And to not panic, which Hunter keeps telling me. I like having my stuff done ahead of time, especially for something as big as this. Things don't always go the way that I want though, and learning to accept that this early on will help me when I do my own research, I think. The cool thing out of all of this is that I came into this without much knowledge of coding and now I've written my own (rudimentary) code. I can't really write functions, but I'm comfortable with loops and two or three weeks ago I didn't even know what the heck they were. That, and I LOVE GMT. Even if it's pain in the you know what, I love the functionality of it. Armed with bash, matlab, and gmt, I think I'm a far cry from where I was 5 weeks ago when I left home. There's a lot more to learn, but I'm really happy with my progress.
Okay, now that you're updated on my research adventures, it's time for my outdoors adventures! The title of my post probably gives you a hint, but this past weekend myself, and Danielle, my faithful adventure partner, headed Northwest and landed ourselves in Utah! First, though, here's some stuff from my previous weekend's foray into Petrified Forest National Park:
Trees scared stiff! :O
Storms at the badlands. Lots and lots of lightning, but I only got videos, no pictures.
And this weekend, we went through Petrified Forest again, and had intended to go to the Grand Canyon but it was like 105, so we decided to just go right to Lake Powell, which was beautiful.
Doesn't do it justice.
Sunset and sunrise at Lake Powell.
Okay, just one more, the sunrise from the tent.
So, we headed further into Utah, where the gas prices are about $0.90 higher than in Albuquerque (it's horrifying, I'm telling you), but the landscape is insane.
Danielle climbing a crazy cross-bedded rock at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Southern Utah.
The hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park
The natural bridge (among many others, I'm sure, that aren't on the main road) also at Bryce.
Our campsite at Kodachrome State Park, where the sand was much more comfortable than at Lake Powell.
The Colorado River in Marble Canyon, as seen from the Navajo Bridge. I didn't end up going to the Grand Canyon because it reached 108 when we were heading back and we were already pretty exhausted, but if Marble Canyon is anything to compare it to, the Grand Canyon is probably going to be insane.
Alright, I think that about does it for this week. This weekend, I'm looking to meet up with a fellow Kutztowner who is at Los Alamos and to head down to Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, and Rock Hound State Park (if you're thinking what I think you're thinking, then yes, you are correct, I am going to go rockhounding).
Adventure is out there!
Greetings excellent readers!
This week... well, still no data, but I've been working with a lot of data that isn't my data so that I can actually do what I'm supposed to do when the time arrives. I hope you followed that. It's kind of good, because I'm getting all of my frustration out on data that I don't actually need, so that's kind of cool. Hopefully we'll get data tomorrow...or Monday. Hm. Until then, I've been getting extremely frustrated with data that was the precursor to our project. The good news, ultimately: I'm definitely getting better with MatLab. I mean, I know it's not much, but at least I can get it to do what I want it to do, and I've gotten pretty good at solving my own problems. And if I'm really stuck, David has been very helpful. Still. Haha.
Further exciting news: there's a chance I'll get to stay a couple extra weeks. The fieldwork for the second half of my project, the East-West hits, is scheduled to start the week after I'm leaving. With any luck, I might be able to get hired by the people doing the actual data collection (they're a third party company, not Sandia) and get to run around in the desert doing whatever they tell me to do and probably dying, a little. This is REALLY cool! But no promises yet, although Hunter has been very awesome about keeping me updated on the status.
I'm sure you're eagerly awaiting my latest adventures. I actually didn't do anything too exciting this weekend, as it was only a two day weekend. I decided to spend most of my time buzzing around in Arizona. I was going to camp out at Petrified Forest National Park, but the entire time I was there it stormed pretty bad and there was a lot (A LOT) of lightning striking the desert floor. Considering I was alone, I decided not to do that, so I stayed in Holbrook, AZ. Of course, the storms went away, but I went and saw Jurassic World! If you haven't seen it, you should because it's awesome. I then took the scenic route down to Show Low, and over to good old Socorro, before heading back to Albuquerque. I have pictures, but I haven't uploaded any of them yet. This weekend's looking like Grand Canyon (briefly), Lake Powell (because it's going to be REALLY hot), and Bryce Canyon. I'm sure we'll probably stop somewhere else too, but that's Friday and Saturday, as of right now!
You might be wondering about the title of this post. Or you might not be, I've been known to make unrelated post titles, but this one is actually relevant. With the fourth of July rapidly approaching (ugh, which means summer's like half over), independence becomes a much more commonly thrown around word. Personally, I can't say I've developed into the independent person that I am today, but that I've always been this way. This is great when you're 25 and trying to wade your way through the wonderful world of science, but I'm pretty sure it was extremely exasperating for my mom and for teachers throughout my life. Or, at the very least, interesting. Being an independent person has been really awesome in doing research at the undergraduate level. I just assumed that I was supposed to do the work and figure it out myself, until I would go to update my research advisor, Dr. Tindall, and she would marvel at that very fact. I'm not even sure what I'd be doing out here if I wasn't, well, independent. I can't just sit around and wait for people to join me (and actually I'd much rather not), because I'd never get anywhere, and I'd be bored.
I mean, you can't always wait for people to hold your hand, like when it comes to research or grad school. But in that same boat, you also don't want to be so independent that you insist on creating your own path through the most difficult forest possible. I'm a pretty stubborn person, so I completely understand that; there's a balance. Don't depend on people for everything, but heeding words of wisdom from those before me has never hurt me. And sometimes it's a little nerve-wracking tackling big challenges alone, like my 30 hour drive out here. I do have to say, though, even if it's a little scary, it feels really great to have completed something like that. I mean, you just did this (whatever your challenge may be, that you obviously triumphed over), so you can definitely do the next thing (this internship, for example), and so on.
Alright, that's enough out of me. I'm not actually qualified to give solid advice, so you'll have to take this viscous advice instead.
I mean, the title pretty much speaks for itself, right?
Colorado was awesome, and here are some pictures!
Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs
Big Horn Canyon
Great Sand Dunes National Park
Hayden Pass, Sangre De Cristo Mountains, by Coalmont
The view from US 24 West heading towards Cañon City
Needless to say, it was pretty insane. Also, if a sign says a road is four wheel drive, they are very serious. Also, please note that that's 5 pictures out of roughly 330... it's a gorgeous, gorgeous place.
But let's get down to business (to defeat the huns!) - I'm currently playing the waiting game for the data I'm going to be working on. This isn't entirely bad -- I've been working with David Tang, who is a graduate intern working on this project with me, and hailing from UC Berkeley and now UT Austin, and he's been helping me get more comfortable with MatLab, no matter how difficult I can be. He's been super great. I have also been doing more work on understanding ReMi and trying to figure out how to express what I'm doing in a non-scholarly way, since I can then use that as an outline and express it in a scholarly way...ideally, anyway! So, obviously, I'm working with MatLab, and, as I've previously mentioned, I've also worked with GMT on my maps...which, hey I can show you!
This is the Nevada Test Site! The next step is to throw in some more labels and a legend, and do the same thing for the other two maps (I have one of Nevada, so you can see where the test site is and then a close up of that orange line - our field site). The orange line actually isn't a line, it's all the shots of the piledriver, but they're so close together (200 m spacing!) that it ends up looking like a line no matter what I do. That dataset has had a few delays due to, surprise, technical difficulties. But, once we get it, our team will be some of the first people to look at it. So, I'll be doing (or running the code for, depending on your view) to do the initial event picking for the Rayleigh waves.
I've also been talking to everybody I can about grad school, and trying to narrow down what I want to do and who I want to do it with and where. Everybody has been very willing to give advice and share personal stories (good and bad), so I'm really thankful for that.
Okay, I think that's enough for today. Hope all the other interns are having a blast -- the blogs are looking awesome and it's exciting to get emails that one's been posted, because I like seeing what adventures everybody is having.
This is week 3 of me being in New Mexico, but week 2 of my internship, if we aren't counting IRIS Orientation week. Quick disclaimer: Orientation week was awesome and is not being neglected out of ill-feelings. It's still a part of the internship experience, I'm just trying to count my time spent at Sandia as the week count for my internship.
I should probably give you guys and update on how my first 10 days here at Sandia has gone!
Here's the super quick version for those who are seeing the paragraphs below and didn't sign up to read a small novel: I learned a lot of coding, have some goals, and checked out some National Monuments. For those who want more details, read on!
Let's see... well, if you don't know much about Sandia (don't worry, I didn't either, but you probably should!), it's located in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Kirtland Airforce Base. This is pretty cool because I've never been on airforce base (or any other military base for that matter) before, so it's a whole new experience. There's quite a bit of security. I have to be very careful not to bring any of the guns that I don't own onto the base, you know. But I digress; on day 1, I got clearance to go into my building, and then to go onto the base itself. I then got to learn how to use a Mac (listen, don't judge me, I have Windows) while learning how to utilize bash shell commands! I can do a lot of basic stuff now! Oh, yeah, as surprising as it may seem, I'm totally new to coding and have only ever had a course in C++ (which I didn't do very well in, sorry), so the heavy utilization of Matlab and Unix is a completely new concept to me. So to future IRIS applicants: you don't have to know coding to do this! You'll learn it, so I hope you're okay with that, but I came in here blind and I've been doing fine. Anyway, I also learned GMT (or the tip of the iceberg that is GMT) and managed to create a few basic draft maps of the test site. The maps leaked over into day 2 or 3, I'm not sure which because I was also reading scientific papers! Protip: scientific papers get better the more you read. The first one I read made me think that I had no idea how I was going to understand anything ever but by the time I got to the third one, it made way more sense. I've also been getting to know the other members of my department. Hunter's listed as my mentor, and she is really awesome, but Rob Abbott is also my mentor! There's a few grad students, too: Matt Perry, who has been the best babysitter ever in answering all of my questions about everything, and we just got two more this week: David and Stephanie. Rob has explained ReMi to me at least twice and has been extremely patient. So, that's pretty much my first week: getting use to working on a base, and becoming less awkward around all these people that I didn't know but who have been extremely helpful and kind.
This week has revolved almost exclusively around MatLab. I spent Monday and Tuesday working on labs that are designed to get me used to the commands and processing with MatLab. I actually have another one that I should be working on now, but I decided to get this done right away so I wouldn't forget. I also spent this morning trying to fine-tune my GMT maps but sometimes (read: often) things don't like to cooperate. Also, I'm working with my own limited knowledge and google so it's probably my own fault, if we're being honest here.
I'm supposed to have some goals related to this internship, so I guess I should post those on here. Probably the most prominent goal, which isn't exactly quanitifiable nor unavoidable is becoming comfortable with basic coding. This is happening already, but I want to drive home to PA with the confidence that I can work with matlab or unix without having a meltdown. That's my biggest goal and it's for the whole summer. For the first third of the summer, I just want have a level of understanding of my project and my role in it that I could explain it to somebody completely unfamiliar with seismology. The second third of the summer will be dedicated to data processing, so I really, really want to have all of the processing done by the second third. Maybe not a complete structural understanding yet, but I want that part done. By the final third of the summer, I really want to have my poster done. I know it's not always possible and it's sort of out of my control in some respects, but I'm going to have a very busy fall between getting ready for grad school and flu season (I work at a pharmacy), not to mention mental preperation for AGU, so I don't really want to have to worry about that as much. I mean, there's a lot more that I want to do, but the gist of it all is that I want to learn as much as possible while I'm here and walk out of here as prepared as I possibly can be for AGU. The people here are very nice and very good at giving advice, so I also want to glean as much as I can about grad school. That's another goal: by the final third, I want to have reached out to at least 3 different potential grad school advisors and discussed research with them. I've already got a list started, so it's just a matter of sitting down and writing the emails.
Naturally, my life doesn't revolve around work, and being from Pennsylvania, I was tripping all over myself to explore the high desert. The Saturday before orientation, I took the beautiful drive down to White Sands National monument, which is about 3½ hours South of ABQ. Unless you get really excited and pull over a lot to check out the rocks or take pictures of the sunset...then it takes a bit longer. White Sands was awesome, though! It's crazy because it creates such a reflection that when you try to look at the mountains around the dunes, they look like it's cloudy skies, but if you look straight up, you can see it's blue. The dunes are really cool, too, although I didn't think to bring a sled. Bummer. The Sunday after I returned from orientation, I decided to stay a bit more local and drove West to check out Petroglyphs National Monument. Google maps took me to Piedra Canyon initially, which was pretty cool, but I wanted to check out Volcanoes Recreation Area. That was a pretty cool hike, which takes you up and over old cinder cone volcanoes. Albuquerque is a pretty central location if you're interested in exploring the outdoors. I'm spending this weekend coming up in Denver and Great Sand Dunes National Park, where I will try to actually sled the dunes. I'm just really excited to check out the Rockies, which I've only ever seen from SLC airport. Don't get me wrong - the Sandias and the Manzanos and Magdelenas and... (the list can go on, but I'll stop) are really, really awesome. Much, much more intimidating than the Pennsylvania Appalachians which are mere foothills compared to these guys. But the Rockies... man! Anyway, next weekend I'm thinking of heading over to Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. It's not a far drive, and I've always wanted to go there. In the future trip category, I also have the Grand Canyon and the whole Four Corners region, including, but not limited to, Mesa Verde, Monument Valley, and Southeastern Utah. And of course, I still haven't checked out downtown Albuquerque, nor Santa Fe yet. And the Sandias!! I want to wait until it's thoroughly hot down here before I go up there. Oh, and I spend a lot of time eating New Mexican food. Green Chiles, man. So good.
Well, if you made it all the way through this, congratulations! I'll probably post again next week, 'cause I think I might actually be comfortable enough with MatLab to be useful haha.
Hey! Welcome to my blog! Tomorrow's the last full day of orientation, which is absolutely unbelievable. I've actually been in New Mexico for roughly two weeks now and I've got to say, I love it. I am especially enjoying all the messages from my friends complaining about the humidity in Pennsylvania. Yes, life is sweet.
That being said, this week has been a complete whirlwind of learning and adventure, but I am looking forward to going back to Sandia on Monday and continuing with my work. Luckily, I think I have a slightly better grip on what I'm doing than when I walked in ten days ago having never even touched terminal.
I think it's a really good idea to actually utilize this mostly because I suspect I'm going to look back on this stuff in the fall and hav absolutely no idea what I had been doing each week. Okay, this is only a test run, so I'm signing off for now.