For this project, I will be studying the amplitude of direct p-waves as they arrive to over 900 geophones. Like seismic velocity, the amplitude of the p-waves is affected by the medium that the wave travels through. By studying the changes in wave amplitude amongst the array of geophones that were deployed around Mt. St. Helens, I will work toward gaining a greater understanding of the volcanic structure of the mountain. This summer I hope to succeed at understanding more of the topics related to tomography, both with P-wave velocity and amplitude attenuation. Additionally, I hope to create a sound model of the crustal structure under Mt. St. Helens that improves, or provides a new perspective than those in previous models.
Now that I have had some time to get settled in Albuquerque, I have started to branch out and explore the area. Riding through the city by both car and bicycle has allowed me to see the more urban parts of the city as well as the natural areas that are tucked away against the Rio Grande and into the foothills of the Sandia Mountains.
Not only have I gotten a chance to explore more of the Albuquerque area, but I have also started exploring my research project for the summer as well. Seismic attenuation is a complicated phenomenon, so in order to successfully build 3-D models by then end of the summer, some lengthy background learning is required. Additionally, P-wave attenuation requires studying small increments of time around the arrival of the P-wave, forcing me to have a well polished method of analysis.
The first steps of my research involved examining node array records of the power spectral density and the frequencies from the active source shots that occurred outside of the node array. In order to visually study power spectra and frequency ranges for the active source shots, I created many figures similar the one below.
This figure shows all power spectra and the frequencies at which the nodes record the arrival of the source shot. The two colored lines in the figure are median power spectral densities, with the red showing power of the recorded shot and cyan indicating the background noise power. Later in the summer, I will need to refer back to these figures in order to decide which frequency ranges will be the most useful to examine for attenuation.
Moving forward in the summer, my main goal is to further my research and understanding of seismology. I also hope to improve my ability to communicate my studies with my peers, friends and family. I realize communication is a vital skill in science, especially with individual research projects. I feel that improving my communication skills will not only make me a better scientist, but improve the general effectiveness of science. I am looking forward to more of the summer, and will continue to post my progress here.
One of the aspects of academic research that keeps it interesting is that the daily routine involves working on more than one task. While I am only working on one research project, the project involves computer programming, reading background literature, and discussing the new topics I am learning with others around me. During my time here at the University of New Mexico this summer, the multi-tasking aspect of research is something that I would like to develop in myself. I am now part of the way into the second week of my project, and already I feel that I have gained a much greater understanding. Others have successully studied the crustal structure of Mt. St. Helens with other methods, and by the end of the summer, I will hopefully have constructed a model using the P-wave attenuation method that will compare or improve those models. I am looking forward to the weeks ahead, and looking forward to sharing my progess.