Thursday, October 2, 2008

SCEC Day Four

I will finish! I swear! And then I have, oh, five field trips, one earthquake, one appearance in an Associated Press article, and a bunch of classes to write about. Augh!

Day Four of SCEC was the biggest day for me, in that it was the day my poster went up. I put it up as early as I was allowed to do so, then resisted the urge to hover around it the entire day in hopes of people stopping by to ask questions. I was good and actually went to the talks instead!

There were three talks on Tuesday. The first was about May's Wenchuan, China quake. It was basically a tour of the surface rupture, while mapping where there was more vertical versus more horizontal displacement. This varied widely along the fault, and even though it was largely a strike-slip earthquake, there were still vertical displacements up to five meters(!) in some places. All of these extremes were accompanied by photos, and the presenter seemed to have everyone's rapt attention. Later on the day was a talk on earthquake early warning systems, which mostly focused on the one currently being tested in Japan. It was a good talk, but people kept walking in and out because the hotel staff put ice cream right outside the door, so there were noise (and sugary) distractions. The last of the talks was on using the codas of seismograms for imaging, and I really couldn't follow much of it at all. As soon as the speaker got into the methods, everything became almost entirely lost on me. (Turns out my adviser was kind of lost, too, so I felt a little better about having no idea what was going on.)

Between the second and third talks were more of the focus group meetings, including the Faulting and Rupture Mechanics group, which is where my research falls within SCEC's divisions. Like with the Extreme Ground Motion group the day before, though, this was a discussion that was light on the science and heavy on the deliberation over which terminology to put in the mission statement. But if this is how science works as an organization, it is still important for me to see it, even if I end up doodling a lot.

After the third talk was the first actual poster session. For all my excitement in putting up my poster in the morning, I actually didn't end up lingering near it in the afternoon. This was because the other person who is working on the bent faults project, other than my adviser and I, had finally made it to the meeting, and we needed to talk about his thoughts on results thus far and where to go next. He had some interesting things to say about the results thus far, and gave me more ideas for future directions of research, while helping to narrow down the next step in this particular project. He's not personally going to be involved until I start doing some field things, or start modeling some more complex geometries, but it was good to actually talk with this guy I'd only previously heard about.
The evening poster session actually (finally) involved me standing by my poster and answering questions. About ten people dropped by, which was certainly a pleasing number for me. Most of them just asked me for a basic summary (after which the Harvard people started doing complex math out loud in front of me, which was a bit intimidating, but I guess that's why they're Harvard people!), but the guy who stuck around the longest and asked the most questions was a geologist working on hazard evaluation. He said he was very interested in the future results of my stepovers and bends work, and that he'd keep an eye out for how it's going. He also mentioned a few real places I should look at once I've shored up my results with hypothetical faults. I was glad for the direct suggestions; the whole day was another one on which everyone I talked with gave me ideas, though, even if indirectly.

I didn't manage to find the people to which I was supposed to show artwork by the time I was about to pass out from tiredness on Tuesday, but I was also too tired to worry about it at the time.


Silver Fox said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Silver Fox said...

Good first comment, eh? I thought someone mentioned AGU earlier, but I'm not sure who it was.