This summer I will be working with Dr. Alberto Venegas. We are attacking the problem of developing an computer program that detect focal mechanisms for local and regional earthquakes based on first motion phase descriptions in real time. The computation of focal mechanisms is a critical aspect of the daily operations at PRSN (Puerto Rican Seismic Network).
So I FINALLY installed my seismic site. What makes mine different from the traditional sites is the use of sand as insulation as opposed to foam. This is supposed to eliminate some of the background noise. Especially here in Puerto Rico because of all the cars and the waves always coming in. It has been collecting data for almost a week. Tomorrow I will uninstall it and compare that data with the traditionally insulated seismometer and use PQLX to determine if the hypothesis proves true.
As far as the code for calculating the focal mechanism, I am close to being done but not 100% yet. If I had to guess, I'd say I'm about 85% done. There is still soemthing I have to do in GMT that I haven't gotten the chence to do yet that I will be working on this week. Courtesy of Michael's request, here are some figures of the focal mechanism code in action. Please ignore my typing errors on the first one haha
So basically this is how I imput it into terminal and it spits out the focal mechanism. It's in spanish and I haven't figured out how to put it in English, but hey it still works. There are 13 consistencies that are all possible answers which is pretty good I think.
This is the beach ball depiction of the focal mechanism that all the geology kids love to play with.
I have some other pictures but they're on my camera which I have yet to upload to the computer. I'll put them up on my next blog.
Last Sunday I went ziplining over the rainforest in the mountains. 9 ziplines in total and all were at least 600 ft about the ground. The view was amazing since we were so high over the mountains. I would have taken a picture but it's kidn of hard to do that while holding on for your life. Plus it wasn't allowed anyways. The last one I went on was called The Beast. It was 4700 ft. (Almost a mile!) and 800 feet in the air. I superman(ed) the whole thing 😊
So things are starting to go my way now. On Friday while working with someone else in the Seismic Network, I was finally able to run this Fortran 95 code to calculate the focal mechanism and picture of an earthquake. Now, I just need to test it on a few more earthquakes and POW! The scientific project is finished. Wish me luck.
As far as instrumentation goes, I just got all the materials I need to install my own site. I feel like this should have been done a long time ago, but due to some things out of my control, I'm just now about to get to it. Monday is some Puerto Rican Holiday so the technician that's going to help me install it won't be around until Tuesday. On monday I will try to finalize the code for calculating and giving a display for the focal mechanism.
I was supposed to go to Caja de Muertos this past Monday. I was ready at 5:30 a.m. and everything. Drove an hour and a half to the boat that would take me to the island. This is attempt #4 by the way. We arrive at the port, and there is no boat to be found. We wait a while. Still no boat. We go to the port's office and ask, "¿Dónde está el barco?" That's "Where's the friggin boat?" in Spanish for all you non Spanish speakers out there. The office called the guy's cell phone and house phone. There was no response. Grreeeaattt....(sarcasm). Attempt #4 = FAIL! And this fail is worse than the first 3 fails! Attempt #5 was rescheduled for this past Wednesday...then this Friday... now it's inconclusive as to when I will go to work on this seismic station.
So on Wednesday, I made a budget for the seismic station & sand insulation that I am going to do myself. It's to see if it can cancel out more noise than traditional insulation. I gave the budget to the head of PRSN (Puerto Rican Seismic Network). My task was to pull some earthquakes out of PRSN's database and see if I could calculate the first motions by hand before running it through the code I have to make sure that it's right. The database went down that day. The database is down today. The head analyst that is supposed to get it back up and running said he's too busy to help me until Monday. The other analysts don;t know how to fix it and the head of PRSN has left town again at least for today.
As of right now, I can't do the field work side of my project nor the programming portion. I'm kind of at a stand still. Guess I'll read up on some papers and some programming stuff for the remainder of my day.
This week was a little shorter than the rest. 4th of July fell on this past Monday so everyone had the day off. There wasn't too much happening on my side of the town so I hung out with some of the friends I have made out here and had another day to relax.
The rest of the week was spent trying to make sense of a code to help me calculate focal mechanisms. I and the Professor that I work under were both stumped so we have to wait until the following week to ask the guy that we got it from to make sense of it all and how to run it.
I went out to a seismic site to help the technicians install a new antenna onto an already installed seismic sensor. The crazy thing was that all this vegetation had grown over the entire site so we had to use machetes to hack away at the plants that had overgrown it. The installation was the most enjoyable part of any of the work I have done out here thus far.
Friday I was supposed to go to a seismic site and work on a new insulation technique based on the New Low & High Noise models, but that was cancelled due to rain. Not a super productive week, but I am still headed in the right direction!
The Professor that I work under said that the bulk of my work starts the following week. I hope that he is right because I feel like my entire project has been moving rather slowly. Can't wait for it to pick up the pace!
This was the start of the second third of my time here in Puerto Rico. The most significant thing that happened is that I obtained the code for calculating the focal mechanism in the hypo-inverse format. Now I am still working to understand it all. More to report on the next blog!
My work here got interesting when I was notified on Tuesday that I would be doing some field work on Wednesday on a small island called Caja de Muertos. I had to be at PRSN (Puerto Rican Seismic Network) at 5:30 a.m. ehich meant I had to wake up at 430 a.m. Our mission was to replace an older gps system on the island with a newer one. We left before sunrise. The island was about an hour and a half away with car and boat trips included. The boarded the boat at about 8:30 a.m. Unfortunate for us, the boats motor gave out about half way to the island. Once we got it somewhat working again, we had to head back because it wasn't safe to go all the way out anymore. The trip would be postponed till Friday.
On Thursday, I went on a trip to the city of Ponce. I toured around the city and went to an art museum. If I knew how to put pictures into the blog, I would so I could show everyone. I'll eventually figure it out. I went to a restaurant and had something called "el especial" aka the special. It was really good.
Friday morning as I was getting ready to head back to Caja de Muertos for part 2, I felt really sick out of no where. I had to tend to my stomach almost all day. "El especial" gave me some kind of stomach bug. Apparently, everyone else who I went to the restaurant with who had the same thing was also sick. Unfortunately, I could not make the trip to Caja de Muertos. The good news is they will be plenty of other opportunities for me to make it out there.
For the second third of my time out here I finally start attacking the actual project! I'm pretty excited and can't wait to put my foot in it (hopefully)!
P.s. I am glad that people like Lizzie and Brady were able to find the gym because the one here is closed unless your on the Olympic weight lifting team -__- Although I look like I could be on the team, sadly I'm not. BUT, I did find a place that gives salsa lessons twice a week for $5 a lesson! Booyah!
Well, week #2 moved slowly but surely. All of my necessary reading is near completion (I think?) and I was ready to start looking at the code for my project. Only problem is that the guy who has the code was out of town for most of the week and wasn't responding to emails. He is supposed to be back Monday so hopefully I can get it from him then. I still have high hopes for this week and the following weeks as far as the amount of work that I can get done. Time is moving fast with or without me so I need to get on it.
As one thinks about their summer goals during an internship, many things can come to mind. Things like impressing their advisor, making new friendships, and learning a lot of new knowledge in their field. I pondered about my own summer goals and have divided them into two catagories. One pertaining to academia and the other being related to extracurriculars. I'll start with the extracurricular stuff first because that's more exciting (after sitting in a classroom all day learning about seismic processing that is haha)
Since I'll be in Puerto Rico, I want to sharpen my Spanish. In order to reach that goal, I am going to make an attempt to speak as much Spanish outside of the lab as I can. There is no better way to learn a new language than fully submerging yourself within it and within the culture so I'm really excited about that. I also want to take some surf lessons. Even though I am born and raised in Los Angeles, I have never set foot on a surf board. Well, what better place to start than an island in the Carribean? My poiht exactly. Lastly, I want to form and maintain new friendships in Puerto Rico. I think it's really cool to be able to say that I have some pretty cool friends from somewhere that isn't part of the contiguous United States.
When it comes to lab work, I am not the best, but I am not terrible. My goal for the summer is to be able to do enough to not only learn a ton of signal processing, but to also get published again. I do not know much work that entails, but whatever it is I'm ready for it. If I am as serious about graduate school as I think I am, then publishing quality research is key. I also want to build up my level of persistance. In my past research experiences, I have noticed that graduate level research is full of speed bumps that will test your patience and your perseverance. The kind of stuff that will frustrate you to the point that you want to throw in the towel and go cry. I want to persist through any road block I encounter over the summer and be able to say that I conquered it. I know that my fellow interns will be able to do the same and more.