Flagstaff, Arizona is a hot zone for wildfires which is not only a danger to the environment but to human life. Not only are the wildfires themselves a concern, but the effects of these natural disasters can also be devastating. The debris flow that happens after the fires end causes the destruction of vegetation due to the soil becoming hydrophobic, meaning the soil cannot absorb water anymore. Seismometers are used near the Museum Fire burn area so that the post-fire debris flow can be measured and recorded.
Hey everybody! I know that is has been way longer than necessary since I have made my last blog post. I guess some updates that I can share is that my research is going pretty good and I am feeling more confident about it. When I explain my research, it excites me to know that people are actually interested in what I am doing. This has given me a confident boost for whenever I discuss what my research is about.
Lately, due to it being monsoon season, there has been some flooding happening in my area but thankfully I live in a downsloped area so the water just comes and goes. Unfortunately I have not been able to really go out because of this but I am not that upset about it. I don't go out unless I am going to the university anyways. So it is not that big of a deal to me. I do know that there are some people more affected by the flooding than I am though. I saw a video on Facebook showing a car being swept away by the flood and it crashing into another car that was in the street. My mentor coincendentally met the owner of the car and thankfully the owner still seemed to be in high spirits.
Today, I made an elevator speech for my research in less than 30 minutes. Once I started, it was easy for me to summarize my research in a 60 seconds. I think it was so easy for me to write it because I have been exposed to the research for a solid two weeks now and have already had to explain my research multiple times to multiple people.
I know that my elevator speech will be useful for when it comes to random people asking about my research because I would already have a dialogue set up that I can reference from so that I do not scramble when the time comes to explain anything. It would also be useful for when my family and friends ask about my summer. Not only will I know exactly what to say but I will also look smart while doing it. Knowing what to say will give the right impression that I know what I am doing when it comes to the research that I have done and will continue to do in the future.
Today marks the end of my first week at Flagstaff, Arizona. I have had an amazing experience so far here. The only downside is that there have been wildfires happening ever since I have arrived so the air has been really smoky but other than that I do not mind the weather nor the people here. The one thing that I was really surprised about was that most buildings, especially houses, here do not have air conditioning so that took some getting used too but since it does not get too hot, it is not that bad.
In regards to the progress of my internship, I was able to go on the field and do some fieldwork on Tuesday right before the city offically shut down all of the national parks due to the wildfires occurring. That was fun to do because my mentor let me set up two seismometers and we both went through the process of hiking up the mountain a little to set one up. I will include some pictures below of the equipment as well as the beautiful views that I witnessed.
This research project started two years ago in 2019 as a result of the Museum Fire that happened in the Flagstaff, Arizona. The project is in its finally year now which means that in totally there will be three years worth of research that took place. Due to the fact that this is a unique type of project, the research can be developed more but due to funding and such, there is not much that can be done in the short time span that was given to the researchers. However, I will say that it is exciting to be a part of research that has not been done before. From what i gathered, seismologists do not normally study debris flow the way that we have been studying it. Usually seismologists prefer to put seismometers in areas where there is an open field and where no vehicles can possibly pass by so that there is not an interruption in collecting data. Our seismometers are placed in difficult areas because they are on a mountain next to bikes trails. We have to do it this way because that is where the most debris flow occurs so we really do not have any other choice on the placement of the seismometers.
The skill that i will reflect on is the analyzation and evaluation of research results. I choose this skill because I think this one of the most important skills for me right now due to this being my first exposure to geophysics in general. To demonstrate this skill proficiently would include knowing how to do the coding as well as knowing exactly what I am looking at when I see the graphs and data. This is important because without knowing how to look at the data, I would not be able to conduct proper research. The steps that I will be actively doing to improve my skill is by studying the data and asking multiple questions when I do not understand what I am looking at.
Hello! My name is Jalissa Weekes and I am doing research on the 'Seismic Monitoring of Debris Flows' with Dr. Ryan Porter in Flagstaff, Arizona at Northern Arizona University. This is my first time going out of my home state by myself and I must say that even though I am really excited, I am also very nervous. I know this will be a fun experience for me though as I am a person that always want to try new things even when they may seem scary. I have only been in Arizona for three days now, counting today, and I must say that there has definitely been a lot of walking lol. Now that will take some getting used too as I have a car back at home and mainly drove everywhere that I went. However, I am happy because this will force me to move around and getting some exercise. Something that I know I need to do more of but just needed a push. So far I have experienced downtown Flagstaff, which is a really chill vibe. I thought it would not be that many people here but there is a variety of personalities that I have encountered so far. They had a farmers market here where I purchased a really tasty crepe called Berry Berry (it had strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries) and yes it tastes as good as it sounds. I am pleasantly surprised with my experience here so far and I hope the good vibes continue!
Back at home, I am a senior chemistry major so doing geophysics is a little out of my element but like I said before, I am open to trying anything new. Ever since I took AP environemental science in high school, I have had an interest in the effects on the environment and what I can do about it so this internship was honestly the perfect fit for me! Today is actually my first day on campus and in the Geology building, where I will be mainly working at. The house that I will being staying at for the month that I will be in Arizona is not too far from the university so my mentor and I rode bikes to campus. I must say that the city of Flagstaff is a bike-riding community which I enjoy a lot because it makes the area feel friendly and open.
I want to learn as much as possible about seismology and also about the research that I am doing. The first-third of this internship will mainly consist of me becoming comfortable in my environment and also getting my first taste of actual field work. Since, this is my first in-person internship as well as my first time out of my home state by myself, I want to break out of my comfort zone and try things that I never even thought of before. I also want to hike since I am surrounded by mountains and hilly terrain. In addition, I want to get a basic understanding of all the equipment that I will be using this summer.
One of my goals for towards the middle of the internship is to have at least an intermediate skill with using MatLab and the coding that I need for it. I also want to be very familar with the instruments or equipment and the data that is presented to me. At this point, I would like to be able to read the graphs, charts, and maps.
At the end of the internship, I want to be able to know exactly what I am doing and how to do it efficiently. I also would like to be able to talk to other graduate students to get some more insight on the daily challenges that they face as well as pros to becoming a graduate student in the geophysics department. By this point, I wish to meet all of the neccessary staff and students that are either related to NAU or geophysics so that I can have the connections that I would need for when I go back to my home state.