This summer I am working with Dr. Grace Barcheck at Cornell University testing the ability of machine-learning based codes to pick P and S wave arrival times. I am using data collected from a 400-instrument nodal seismic array which is part of the Alaska Amphibious Community Seismic Experiment (AACSE) located on Kodiak Island in Alaska. I will be learning how to pick P and S wave arrival times and then learning how to apply various machine-learning earthquake detection codes.
This past week I created a map of my research area. For my project, as mentioned previously, I am working with data from the Alaska Amphibious Community Seismic Experiment. Part of the experiment includes the dense nodal array I am working with located on Kodiak Island in Alaska. It is located just south of the mainland of Alaska. It is also located north of the Aleutian subduction zone which is the main source of seismic activity in the region. The nodal array is unique because of the sheer amount of seismometers installed in one area. Each seismometer is placed roughly 200-300 feet apart along some of the main roads in the northeastern portion of Kodiak Island.
Before this week, I had never created a map using coding techniques and am proud of the, albeit quite rough, map of Kodiak Island that I made. I started off using basic Generic Mapping Tools (gmt) offered on my Linux virtual computer. I will admit it took a while to figure out and a lot of trial and error to get the coordinates, sizes, scaling, and other options to all work together. However, I now feel as though I can make a map in less than half the time now. I must admit that this mapping attempt is not the last. In the next few weeks, I plan to explore pyGMT in depth to hone my mapping skills. For this map in particular, I would like to learn how to change the projection to more accurately depict Alaska, include terrain features, include the trench on a larger map of Alaska, and make a map that shows a closer view of the nodal array.
In addition to my mapping adventures, I have continued to pick P and S waves. In order to properly train and evaluate the machine learning models I am working with, I must have as many picks as possible. This data set is so interesting to me to work with because each of the stations are extremely close to each other and I have the unique ability to compare waveforms of stations that are practically next to each other. I found that when picking S waves in particular the waveforms can appear quite different despite the stations being so close together. For example, some S waves have a slower build to the main energy release and other S waves have a sharp energy release. My mentor, other graduate students, and I have hypothesized it could be due to small local differences in the surrounding geology and also variations in the amount and cause of noise between stations.
Outside of my internship work, I got the chance to attend a James Taylor concert at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, the original Woodstock location (how cool!). It was an incredible experience that I am very grateful for. One of my favorite things in life is live music and this concert was by no means an exception. James Taylor captured the audience with his stories and his music and I would go a million times over again.
It’s the second week! One of my biggests accomplishments is seeing the sights. Cascadilla Gorge on the south side of campus is beautiful. I've attached an image of one of the many gorge trails. The cool shade and the sound of rushing water is a wonderful break from the computer lab. One of the coolest parts in the nature trail leads to tennis courts that sit directly in the gorge itself. In addition to the gorge I tried out the Gimme! Coffee. Let me tell you, this was the BEST chai latte I have ever had.
I will say though the highlight of my week was going to a career talk hosted by the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences graduate students at Cornell. Nicole Fernandez, a professor of geochemistry at Cornell, talked about her path from undergraduate to doctorate to becoming a professor. Her talk was unique because she spoke about her career journey as it fit into her life and all of the small things she learned in the last decade. In my experience many career talks only focus on career, which yes that is what a career talk is, but I prefer to hear about their career path and how it fits into their life as a whole. Nicole did a wonderful job of incorporating those two areas of her life into a presentation. I was certainly inspired.
As for my main goal I mentioned last time, I without a doubt have made progress in my coding abilities. I’ve been spending the majority of my time in the lab coding in Linux and Python and it is slowly becoming easier for me to understand and write. It is a very gratifying experience.
It’s the first week after orientation and I am currently settling down after traveling. Orientation week was jam packed with lectures and activities that were fun. I had never had a seismology specific class before and this was a great way to jump in head first. I can say that without a doubt that the San Lorenzo Canyon (see picture) and the Magalena Ridge hike were my favorite activities out of the week. Before the orientation, I had never been west of New York and to make such a big leap to New Mexico was thrilling. The thing that surprised me the most was the contrast between the flat basins and the large rocky mountains at the edges of the basin.
This summer I am excited to explore Ithaca’s gorgeous gorges and learn everything I can. My project, as described above, is to use the Alaska Amphibious Community Seismic Experiment data to test and train machine learning models. To do so, I will need to learn how to efficiently program Linux, Python, and use Jupyter Notebooks. I am a bit nervous about computer programming since I have very little experience with it, but I believe it will all pan out in the end. That being said, My big summer goals are as follows:
So far, this week has been a blast. I am learning so much and so fast and loving every minute of it. An added bonus is that my walk to work takes me along a gorge that is breathtaking--not a bad way to start and end my day at all!