This past semester I have been working on the GREAT project slowly but surely. As a recap, here is a brief overview of what my research focuses on. I am working with Professor Oscar Lücke of the University of Costa Rica. His research focuses on relative and absolute gravity measurements through Costa Rica to study the layers of the Earth. My research, in particular, focuses specifically on relative gravity measurements in the Talamanca mountains. I am working on building an open source program that is capable of processing data sets and applying gravitational corrections to them. For example, these corrections account for the density of rock beneath us or the altitude at which we are taking a measurement.
What is particularly interesting about my research is that there are already programs out there for geophysicists to use that apply these corrections. However, they do not maintain a high degree of accuracy. That is where Jon and I come in. We are keeping the program open source and with a lot of customizability such that we are maintaining a high degree of accuracy and make it as user friendly as possible.
Moving forward, once we are done designing the program, we will be trying to create a plugin for QGIS, which is a graphical mapping software. This allows us to create a visual map to analyze our data. We will also try to create a density map of the Earth’s interior, if there is enough time, to examine the structure of the Talamanca mountains.
This research project will have wide scale uses for geophysicists and geoidists. They will be able to take this program to quickly and efficiently analyze their field data and be able to produce higher quality density maps of the Earth’s interior. This will provide us with more information and understand the Earth better. This will also have uses for other fields that affect us. For example, companies that need to install large scale infrastructure can use the gravity analysis tool to determine if the layers beneath their structures will be suitable or if they should move their equipment somewhere else. This will be crucial to installing renewable energy facilities and other large pieces of infrastructure.