We are finally ready to run our geographically mapped fault lines in the simulator. Now that all I have to do is play the waiting game, let me recap the progress we’ve made, and what exactly we are trying to do. We have made geographic map of the fault lines in the Caribbean, and now we are throwing that map in a simulation. The simulation is there to show us movement along the fault lines and hopefully we will see patterns of earthquake activity that will match up with past earthquakes. This will hopefully show us future patterns of earthquakes that may or may not match up. All of this is up in the air, but the hope is that we will possibly have some sort of knowledge of future earthquakes that can possibly occur. I’m trying to keep this as vague sounding as possible because I want to make it clear that we are not predicting a date and time that earthquakes will happen. If we could do that, there wouldn’t be such catastrophic damage to human population because of them. We are simply seeing if we can find some sort of pattern that these earthquakes could possibly take to. Some may occur every 50 years or so, or every 200 years, etc. Right now that simulation is running, and because we are taking it very far down the road, this could take over a week to run. I will write back with results, and possible editing that will have to take place, but until then I will wait in suspense as to what the results will be. Consider me extremely excited.
This week, we have run into quite a humorous problem. We have spent so much of our time finalizing and recreating our map that we forgot to account for the fact that the dip of each fault could cause just as many issues. If each of these fault lines were straight lines, we would have no problem just rotating the dip angle of each of the faults that are currently vertical. Instead, the faults all curve, and are nowhere near perfectly straight, so when we rotate them in the program, the bend and twist in ways that we cannot allow. We need accurate information with an accurate plot if we hope to achieve a successful outcome. Now with that said, guess what we will have to do? That is right; we will have to replot each fault at its accurate dipping angle from the get-go just so we can have an accurate plot. Now while I know that the reader of this would love to hear me talk about how I’m slowly mastering these specific actions in the Trellis program, perhaps it is time I enlighten the crowd on what Dip is. To put it simply, dip is the angle at which the fault is tilting. For instance, most faults in the Caribbean are dipping north or south, and we have to accurately represent that in our geographical mapping of the faults. While life would be easier if every fault was perfectly straight and completely vertical, it is not so. Off I go to plot this map one more time. While my tone sounds sarcastic, I truly do enjoy learning this program, and I can honestly say I’ve never had so much fun troubleshooting a project before. Here is to hoping that this will be the last time until we can finally run the next program.
The mapping is finally finished and now we can finally get started on transferring this information to the next step. Or so I thought that would be the sentence that my mentor would tell me. Turns out that some of the fault lines mapped were going to have to be split up and that some more faults were going to have to be added in order to get the results that we are looking for. Luckily the touch up seems easy enough, and this week should be relatively simple. I think it is safe to assume that I officially know how to map these specific files, but pounding it into my head one more time sounds fine honestly. My navigation of Trellis is becoming better and better, plus this time Roby showed me how we are going to use a trimesh on the entirety of the map. There are multiple types of meshing that you can place on the segments, but we will be using the trimesh which means that a bunch of tiny lines representing 2 kilometers match up making triangles all along the fault lines. This is so we can pinpoint any specific spot on any specific fault line as opposed to just saying, “somewhere on the big fault over there.” While this week may be easy, I am excited to complete this part and add in the dip angle to each of these fault lines. Til next week.
When you tend to have many problems with something, it is best to simplify it and start over. As opposed to before where we were using all the fault lines in the Caribbean, we now are using only the fault lines that we have all the data ready to go. To add to that, I now am going to remap the entirety of the fault lines once more and go from there. The good news is that the more I use Trellis, the more it becomes familiar to me. All the issues that I was previously having are becoming much simpler to solve on my own. The main issue that was getting to me was the fact that you cannot work on the center bulk of the information without then having to edit everything that comes after that selected information because every vertex changes. Once I learned this bit of information, everything became much easier to comprehend in the way of editing information I have already worked on. This week has shown me that even someone like me who has never worked with software such as Trellis can learn through trial and error. I’m pretty excited to finish the mapping of these fault lines and see how we will be transferring it to the next program that Roby will show me.
This week has caused me a little bit of stress. It is a shame when you can’t quite figure something out. I have been having trouble with my finicky swan 5 fault line. To be entirely honest, it is hard to even think of what to type right now. I’m still very cool, calm and collected, but that swan 5 just does not want to work. Every time I change it, it ruins another fault segment, and that’s why this is stressful. Sometimes you need to take a step back and learn from your elders. I will definitely have to troubleshoot this with Roby next week instead of trying to be cool and work it out on my own. I feel proud that out of all the fault lines I only experienced a tiny hiccup in work towards the very end. It is very hard to take a loss, but I will accept it with grace this time. I suppose it is pretty silly of me to think that all of this brand new information will come to me with ease. The evolution from padawan to master does not happen overnight, after all. I just hope that next week ends up having more good news for me, than bad.
Now this week is exciting because I get to start doing some real work on mapping these fault lines through a program called Trellis. This is especially exciting for me because I have never done something like this before. I find a night where I can just focus on this for hours, and just relax while simply mapping these fault lines. That is until I realized that this is much harder than I thought it would be for a newbie like me. I sat down in my chair and instantly drew a blank on how to even start. I instantly realized that this is the point of the internship, and that I needed to buckle down and start troubleshooting the issues I was facing. With my new cool, calm and collected attitude I start working on the map, and what do you know? It works! I start cranking out the segments one by one with ease and comfort, until the dreaded swans. There are about 12 fault names labeled under the name, “swan,” and for some reason I could not figure it out at all. It’s the same process, but from swan 5 and on, I could not figure out what was wrong. What’s even more interesting is that I was able to get the rest of faults after swan to work. With this accomplished I decided that it was a job well done and that I needed to pat myself on the back, and bring the issue up with Roby next week.
When I first got accepted to be an intern at UCR I was extremely overjoyed. I could not believe I was actually going to be doing work in a field that I am extremely interested in. My hope going into this was to get a Geophysics based internship so that I could feel out that area of geology and see if it is for me. Luckily my mentor, Roby Douilly, is both incredible capable and knowledgeable on the subject. When I first met him, he explained what the project is, and what we will be doing. He then explained that before we could start I would have to become familiar with an operating system named Linux. He sent me a tutorial, and to be entirely honest, it was a little confusing. I completely understand now why he had me get familiar with this before starting the project because this is how I am supposed to navigate my files. Now the project itself is also kind of hard to grasp when you have had no experience in the field, and your best source of knowledge is the few geology classes I had taken in the past. What’s funny is they really made me understand what Roby is talking about when it comes to different types of faults such as convergent, divergent and transform faults. Ladies and gentlemen, looks like school does work. What he had to brush me up on was the difference between strike and dip. Below will be a picture showing the difference between convergent (plates moving towards each other), divergent (Plates moving away from each other), and transform (plates sliding past each other) plate boundaries.
For my project during this internship at UCR, I am to assist Roby in mapping out the fault lines of the Caribbean, and then transfer that map we will create to another program that will hopefully help us estimate where future earthquakes may occur based on patterns in the past. To be entirely honest, this information intimidated me at first. It felt like all of a sudden I know nothing, and none of this is going to make sense to me. Luckily everything began to clear as I listened to further explanation of the process. It will be simple to break everything down into a list of things to get done. First thing’s first, it is time to understand how to use Linux. What seems nice about this operating system is that it will be easy to pick up with repetitive use of it. What is exciting is the fact that I will finally be mapping the faults next week after Roby teaches me how. What I shall leave this week’s note on is my excitement to get my hands dirty in some work, and after some work plotting each fault line, I shall be sure to upload a picture of the before and after maps.