Friday, September 26, 2014

The land instruments

As a volunteer on the GeoPRISMS experiment I was given the opportunity to learn about active seismic onshore survey deployment. The deployment took place from September 8 to 16. During that time the team deployed 80 RT130s along the two seismic profiles in North Carolina and Virginia.  We first prepared the instruments and learned how to deploy them. 

Synchronizing the GPS clocks of the RT130 before deployment in the courtyard of the instrument center. Each instrument is powered by a deep cycle battery.

Pnina Miller (IRIS/PASSCAL) shows how to correctly orient the GPS antenna during the volunteer training
After the preparation we independently deployed the seismometers along the two profiles. Ana Corbalán and I installed 16 RT130s along the southern profile.  
Ana and I on our way to our next seismic station
The insulation was tough but gratifying. The weather in North Carolina is unpredictable. At times it was hot and humid. I was drenched in sweat burying the sensors. Other times we were caught in torrential downpours working under a tarp; terrified by the sound of thunder. The sites were located on mostly private property, hosted by people who were eager to help with the experiment. The interaction with the local people enriched the experience. Many of them showed true southern hospitality. 
Station deployed!

From an academic prospective I learned about survey design, instrument deployment and the logistics. This provided a distinctly unique experience that is unavailable in the classroom environment. Beatrice and Dan were tremendously helpful and supportive. I learned a great deal about active seismic from my conversations with them. They’re passionate about nurturing future geophysicist. The GeoPRISMS is an altruistic endeavor for them. I am thankful to them for investing so much of their time and expertise into the project. 

The GeoPRISMS experiment has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to help with the deployment and look forward to my involvement in the recovery of the instruments! A future workshop will be held for processing the data and the inversions. This pre to post educational approach is invaluable to me as a future geophysicist.

Posted by Christopher Novitsky 

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