The critical zone is defined as the area from the top of the tree line to the base of unweathered bedrock. This environment involves the complex interaction of rock and biological life with soil formation, hydrological networks, and geochemical processes. The role of the structure of the deep critical zone has an influence on surface processes but the amount of influence and why certain topography or features causes specific surface conditions is not strongly understood. Through the use of seismic refraction the topography of the gneiss bedrock in the Piedmont region of South Carolina will be imaged to gain better understanding of the influence of bedrock structure on subsurface and surface geology in Appalachian granitoid.
It's crazy to believe that I am almost a month into my internship. It has started off as quite the steep learning curve, but I am way further along relative to when I started. Before going into the field to collect my seismic refraction survey in the Piedmont region of South Carolina (leaving tomorrow!!), I have been working in Python to image the subsurface topography of past collected surveys and sharpening my skills in picking the fastest arrival times to get an accurate model. In addition, I helped my mentor with a little side project this past week where we 3D modeled an outcrope of an exposed tree root with underlying soil and weathered saprolite in the South Carolina Botantical Gardens near Clemson, SC (pics below!).
A skill that I wanted to put a particular focus on this internship is to be able to communicate knowledgeably about my reasearch and discuss concepts in a scholarly way with academic colleagues. I have been learning so much about seismology and geophysics these past few weeks and I feel I have a general understanding of my work. However, in order for my work to be illustrated productively to the scientific community (i.e. an AGU abstract). I want to be strong in communicating my results, the methods used, and the implications and importance of critical zone research. Luckily, I am in good hands with my mentor (who I know is going to read this [brownine points]).
My first two weeks have been very informative and has openned my eyes to interesting world of seismology. I have been busy at work educating myself on our research area, the conept of the critical zone and geophysical/geochemical/biological that influence the topography of the critical zone, seismic refraction, and the greater implications of my project through a vast collection of literature and lectures with my mentor. In addition, I have started my official beginning of learning how to code through Python which has started off rather smooth (but I doubt it will stay this smooth). The goal of these first few weeks is to get me ready to process the data in the field which I am beyond excited for.
Outside of work I have fully settled into Clemson, SC where I room with four lovely Clemson students in a townhouse right off Lake Hartwell. I already taken a camping trip to Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest, explored the urban scene, and successfully been able to transport myself between my house, the Clemson Main Campus, and Clemson's Environmental Technologies Lab without the help of GPS (big win!).
Now onto my goals for the summer!
First Third Goals:
Second Third Goals:
Last Third Goals:
Until the next blog! - Kai