Friday, April 29, 2016

URSP Student Jood Al Aswad Researches Geodetic Time Series Analysis and Earths Tides

I’ve learned of discoveries so strange and so separate from the way we were used to thinking that they made me wonder: why was that man so sure that the planets revolved around the Sun, and not the Earth? How is it that, without even a century between myself and this discovery, we did not know that the Earth grew, millimeter by millimeter every year, from a gas
h in the depths of the sea, and then swallowed itself up again when land collided with land? As an Earth Science student with a concentration in Geology, my education enabled me to learn about every subdivision of geology except for geophysics, which is as of yet not offered as a class. Therefore, I decided to conduct research on a branch of geophysics as a way of teaching myself about it and gaining a hands-on understanding.  

My research focuses on geodetic time series analysis and Earth tides. I use the data recorded by strainmeters from the Plate Boundary Observatory to examine the distribution of Earth tides across latitudes, and their variability based on responses to tectonic regimes of the Earth. This data will help prove or disprove the equilibrium theory of tides, which states that at different locations on Earth, different tidal signal types will be found. These tides are differentiated by their frequency, and are supposedly found uniformly within a geographic area. This will make strainmeters a revolutionary instrument in gathering data on Earth tides.

On a weekly basis, I read books and journal articles on geodesy, and meet with Dr. Linda Hinnov, who has helped me understand how to process the data using programs like Microsoft Excel and Matlab. I use Microsoft Excel to sort data from each gauge in two strainmeters, which are selected based on both latitude and tectonic regime. I then run the data through Matlab, which enables me to graph the data and interpolate the trend of the Earth tides throughout the 10 years in which the data was collected. The graphs also enable me to find the duration and type of Earth tide displayed. After processing and visualizing the data, I’ll then be able to interpret the results to find a conclusion. The knowledge I’ll gain from this project is immeasurable: thanks to OSCAR and the help of Dr. Hinnov, I’ll have an understanding on geophysics and running complex data on programs like Matlab, and the experiences I gained from this research will help me become a successful researcher in the future.