It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but a lot has happened since! The last month of the semester largely involved compiling all the work I’d done, designing a poster, and then presenting (virtually, through pre-recorded poster presentations) at the ARESTY Research Symposium.
My final project work ended up looking quite different from what I’d initially expected, but the whole experience was still a supremely worthwhile and productive endeavour. Over the course of the past eighteen months, I ended up building a tool in MATLAB to quantitatively study the geology of a given region by:
reading data from a raw SEISAN file
plotting time after earthquake origin versus distance covered by seismic waves
visually plotting where seismic waves travelled by mapping the source of an earthquake to each regional station that received a signal
analyzing the data by linearizing the travel-time plot
inspecting the reduced travel-time curve by using linear regression to determine the velocity of the seismic waves
As an engineer, my strengths lie largely in finding concrete solutions to defined problems. As a result, I was challenged to exist outside my comfort zone during the research process, which quite regularly required me to identify what problems I even wanted to solve, as well as what the solution might need to look like. Beyond the fact that there were no correct answers, this project also required a background in geology to interpret the quantitative results produced– with support from Vadim, who was my P.I. and research mentor, I became much more comfortable with both aspects of the research process, and realized that collaboration with experts in the field (like Vadim) was key when I could not produce answers myself. I also learned to wrangle MATLAB to do my bidding– not just to produce a result I wanted, but to genuinely analyze the methods by which MATLAB was producing the necessary results (this became extremely important during statistical analysis of the plots I’d produced).
I am excited to be able to build on the work I’ve produced over the past semester– now that I’ve built a functional tool, I look forward to using it to genuinely analyze swathes of earthquake data from the RSN and see what we might find. I am grateful to ARESTY for this whole experience, as well as Vadim and Dr. Chuck Keeton for this project. Thank you as well to Mariya (Cohort 1!) for letting me build on her previous work, and Kyle (Cohort 2!) for being a great Peer Instructor. This was a wonderful opportunity, and though it turned out to be very different from what we’d initially envisioned, the personal and academic growth I’ve undergone has been a very rewarding affair.