M2.4 Earthquake Carson, CA Seismic Array Visualization

•14 June 2011 • Leave a Comment

A M2.4 earthquake occurred in Carson, CA, on 2011 May 14 @ 14:19:00 UTC (2011 May 13 @ 21:19:00 local time), at a depth of 11km. Coincidentally, this earthquake was recorded by a high-density (100m) 3D seismic array in Long beach, CA. The data were recorded by NodalSeismic, and a resulting time-lapse generated by Dr. Rob Clayton of CalTech.

If you’re anxious, the good stuff starts at ~1:00. Enjoy!

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Visualization of Groundmotion of the 11 Mar 2011 Japan Earthquake with USArray

•11 March 2011 • Leave a Comment


Courtesy of IRIS.edu

Visible shockwaves from Eyjafjallajökull eruption

•22 April 2010 • Leave a Comment

The shockwaves, passing through the clouds, were caused by the Eyjafjallajökull eruption on 18 April 2010. Verdict? Damn cool.

By the way, I have a dollar for the first person that teaches me how to say Eyjafjallajökull… properly.

The Ten Commandments of Geology

•16 April 2010 • 1 Comment

PhD Comics: The Origin

Commandments 1-5: How to properly worship the only true Advisor

1. I am The Advisor your God, who brought you out of the land of bliss, out of the house of innocence. You shall have no other gods before Me.

2. You shall not make for yourself other commitments, or any likeness of anything that is time consuming, or that is in other professors’ interests, or that is assigned in your classes; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I The Advisor your God am a jealous professor, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who have had Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who will not be advised by Me and keep My Commandments.

3. You shall not take The Name of The Advisor your God in vain; for The Advisor will not hold him guiltless who leaves His name from publications.

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it occupied. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a Sabbath to The Advisor your God; in it you shall work even more so, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days The Advisor wrote theses and dissertations, assembled PowerPoint presentations, and all that is in them, and also worked the seventh day; therefore The Advisor cursed the Sabbath day and so shall you.

5. Honor your Advisor and committee members, that your days may be paid with the stipend which The Advisor your God gives you.

Commandments 6-10: How to live in misery during academia

6. You shall not have fun.

7. You shall not commit to activities not assigned to you.

8. You shall not sleep.

9. You shall not bear false citations within your thesis.

10. You shall not covet your officemate’s thesis, you shall not covet your officemate’s field area, or his funding, or his stipend, or his poster, or his van, or anything that is your officemate’s.

Sing us a song, you’re the geo man…

•25 March 2010 • 1 Comment

As geologists, the nature of our work relies on seeing the rocks. Hence, our field day usually ends when the sun sets. After which, we are often huddled about the camp fire (most-likely, with beer in hand) recanting stories of past field seasons. Once in a while, someone will bring a guitar or radio out to the field, which (again, beer might be a contributing factor in this) presents an opportunity for musical high jinks. After much trial and error (and even more beer), the right words will coincide with the right tune, thus giving birth to the musical genre known as geology songs.

Dr. Richard Alley is a professor at Penn State, who happens to have a knack for weaving geology into popular songs – an example of his fine art can be seen above. I find his videos to be great mnemonic aides when teaching introductory geosciences. Check out his other videos on YouTube, like Ring of Fire.

Note: For implying that geologists always drink in the field, I would like to apologize to the 1% of geologists who do not consume alcohol.

Scientific Ink

•16 March 2010 • Leave a Comment


Photo from of SmilePanic.com

In honor of March 14th, why not remind yourself of the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Perhaps maybe something more daring, like the wave equation – better yet,  the Zoeppritz equations. As for me, I’ll hold out till I invent a new transform. Meanwhile, here are some folks who think that science makes for good tattoos.

Words to the wise: When doing scientific tattoos, double check the design and make sure at least one person is sober. A classmate from my undergraduate university tattooed a stratigraphic column of the Grand Canyon on his forearm. What does he have to show for it? A mythical Bright Angle Shale, beneath the Muav Limestone and above the Tapeats Sandstone.

Chilean Earthquake of 27 Feb 2010

•11 March 2010 • Leave a Comment

The rarity of large (Mw > 8.0) earthquakes makes it challenging for seismologists to study the dynamic processes that occur when faults fail. The Chilean Earthquake of 27 Feb 2010 is estimated to have a moment magnitude (Mw) of 8.8 – only 5 earthquakes are known to have been larger.

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2010 Tsunami Map from Chilean Earthquake, courtesy of NOAA

Eric Kiser, over at Harvard, has done some preliminary modeling, which lets scientists get a glimpse of how the dynamic rupture might have occurred on 27 Feb 2010. There is an extremely nice animated GIF on his site that I dare not poach, and I recommend getting a higher resolution image of it.