Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My new found respect for seismic data

Me in the orange helmet with the WHOI deployment team
Hello everyone and welcome back to the Shatsky blog. It's my post today, and I'll do a quick introduction. I am Tolulope Olugboji, an international graduate student at Yale University. I work with Jun Korenaga (chief scientist on this research cruise), and my research work so far has involved using seismic data to study the crustal structure and origin of large under-sea super volcanoes. This involves me processing seismic data and using these data with inversion techniques to create images of the crust underneath the ocean sea floor. This procedure is known as tomography. Yea, I know, I tried to be brief.

Now that you know me, I have exciting updates from the Shatsky cruise. One is that I finally got my sea legs! This is a big deal for me, because if my body hadn't adjusted to the constant motion of the sea, I would have missed all the action that started yesterday on the Langseth. The high point was when I got to launch the very first ocean bottom seismometers (OBS) to be used for the tomographic imaging of the Shatsky crust. It was also a very important educational experience because it made me realize the value of seismic data. I have worked with seismic data for a while now, but I never appreciated the whole process that goes into acquiring the data.

Each OBS launch requires the participation of almost everyone on the ship. The navigation crew, the main lab, the deployment team and I am sure some other crew members that I still don't know about. The process is delicate and technical. The precision, organization, teamwork and time needed for deployment and recovery has given me a new found respect for seismic data. My take home message: learning about Earth's history and inner workings takes the dedication and commitment of a lot of people. Kudos to everyone on the Langseth. I promise to treat our data well.

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