It’s easier to find parking in San Francisco

Besides the current situation involving parking, things are going splendidly. I just got home, after driving around Westwood for the last hour to look for a parking spot. Luckily, I should have my parking permit for UCLA by next week, so I’ll be able to keep my car in the parking garage overnight.

My internship deals with “scattering, attenuation and caustics on seismograms in the Southern California seismic network.” A few years ago, researchers carried out some experiments that involved setting off explosions to map below the surface. They noticed some weird anomalies about 20km below the surface that caused reflections to show up on the seismograms that were monitoring these experiments. Possible explanations for this ranged from a magma chamber (unlikely) to a piece of the old Farallon Plate that subducted under North America 10 million years ago. Anyway, my assignment is to basically look through data from years and years of individual seismograms and see if I can find any of these reflections from actual earthquakes. If so, we can do some simple math to find out where the wave reflected from and get a better grasp on the size of this “high velocity zone” as it is called. It’s quite interesting since it holds possible implications for determining how the San Andreas fault moves through Southern California too.

Another project I will be helping on is creating a radio network of seismograms that transmits data by line of site back to a central locations. This allows real time recording of a huge array of seismograms. Evidentially, a graduate student is going to use this on a large scale in Mexico next year. The distance they want to cover is nearly 50km, with the signal hopping between stations that are anywhere from 5 – 10 km apart. We’re going to setup a small scale version of this by trying to hop a signal from the UCLA campus, over the Santa Monica Mountains and into San Fernando Valley to test if this works. This involves putting together all the equipment, finding suitable locations, and even getting permission from owners of the properties that we want to set stuff up on.

Pretty intense stuff overall, but fascinating nonetheless. I think I am definitely going to put UCLA down on my list of schools to consider going to for graduate school. It’s a beautiful campus, and the geology department is absolutely incredible. Lots of cutting edge research going on.

Today I attended a presentation by a team member of the Mars Exploration Rovers Mission. He presented material on the latest findings and current status. I’ve been checking up on these things every few days, using the official site. They are still ticking! What incredible pieces of engineering.

In other news, the room mate situation is pretty great. A very nice group of people and they are completely accommodating. We all went out to dinner last night along with some of their friends, so that was nice getting to meet even more new people.

Anyway, the last group of postings was getting pretty long, so I went ahead and threw it into the archive section. Interestingly enough, it seems like the archive section is divided up by significant points in my life. The start of school at CSUSB, then moving to SF, and now the internship at UCLA. This was completely unintentional too! Nice coincidence. 🙂