Donna Shillington, Author at State of the Planet - Page 2 of 3

Deploying Ocean Bottom Seismometers off Alaska

On July 2, we finished deploying over twenty ocean-bottom seismometers as a part of our marine expedition to study a major tectonic boundary offshore Alaska. Ocean bottom seismometers (OBS’s) are autonomous instruments that sit on the seafloor and record sound waves traveling through the earth and the water. Floats made from glass balls and syntactic… read more

by |July 4, 2011

Heading to Sea off Alaska Aboard the R/V Langseth (at last)

Yesterday evening, we left Kodiak aboard the R/V Marcus G. Langseth and began our 38-day-long research cruise offshore Alaska. As we left port, we were treated to clear skies, calm seas and spectacular views of Kodiak – dark grey mountains tipped with snow emerging from the lush green landscape. Although Kodiak offered beautiful sights and… read more

by |June 30, 2011

Finishing Up Onshore and Heading Offshore

Seven days and eleven flights after we arrived in Alaska, we finished deploying our seismic stations onshore.  Our final constellation of stations differs a little from our original plan (as always happens with field work), but achieves our main goal of instrumenting the part of the Alaska Peninsula that is nearest to our planned offshore… read more

by |June 24, 2011

Installing Seismic Gear On The Beautiful (But Challenging) Alaska Peninsula

Every field location comes with logistical hurdles, and the Alaska Peninsula is no exception. Weather, wildlife and modes of transport pose the greatest challenges. We are hardly the first scientists to encounter these: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has a long, rich history of collecting seismic data in this region (e.g., Shumagin Seismic Network, which ran for… read more

by |June 22, 2011

The Alaska Peninsula from the Skies

The first component of our program is to deploy seismometers onshore around the Alaska Peninsula. These instruments are very sensitive, so they can record small, local earthquakes, distant large earthquakes and (importantly for our project) the sound source of the R/V Langseth.  However, there are no roads connecting towns on the Alaska peninsula, so one… read more

by |June 19, 2011

Mapping the Alaska Megathrust

Two tectonic plates converge along a 2,500-kilometer-long subduction zone offshore southern Alaska. Stress builds up at the contact between these plates, which is released in large, destructive earthquakes like the recent event offshore Japan. One of the big conundrums about these settings is how large of an area locks up on the contact between these… read more

by |June 17, 2011

Surveying the Sea of Marmara to Understand Faults and Earthquakes in Turkey

In 1999, an earthquake along the North Anatolian fault killed some 30,000 people in western Turkey. There is some evidence that another segment closer to the densely populated city of Istanbul could be next to rupture, which could create worse devastation. A team of Turkish, American and French scientists are on a Turkish research ship… read more

by |June 13, 2010

Return to Malawi: Bringing Home Instruments and Earthquake Data

In early May, Scott Nooner and I returned to Malawi to retrieve our seismic equipment and finally lay eyes on the data recorded over the last 4 months. Picking them up was vastly easier than putting them out. In contrast to the days studying out-dated maps and driving down dirt roads looking for sites, and… read more

by |May 20, 2010

Reaching Out: Educating Specialists and the Public on Earthquake Monitoring

While installing our seismic network in Malawi, we interacted with everyone from scientists to schoolteachers, and journalists to villagers. The opportunity to provide information and education to Malawians has been the most rewarding aspect of our effort. We trained local scientists and technicians on seismic equipment and data analysis, and educated the public on earthquakes… read more

by |March 7, 2010

High, Dry and Safe: In Search of the Perfect Site

The ideal spot for a seismic station is dry, quiet and safe from vandals and thieves. Seismometers record slight ground motions, allowing them to hear distant (and not so distant) earthquakes. But cars or even kids playing near a seismic station can produce ground vibrations that overwhelm the subtle sounds of earthquakes. Seismic stations include… read more

by |February 10, 2010