Dan Scheirer (right) and Mike Perfit interpret the DSL-120 sonar
data hot off the press in the Control Van.
When did you know you wanted to be an earth scientist?
At the age of 7, I knew I wanted to be a geologist. I was a rock hound as a child,
and when my family would travel, I would collect rocks from the new places we
went to. I also liked to go to rock swaps. I got my first rock
hammer as a present when I was 11. When I was little, I was usually the youngest
rock collector in any group of rock hounds.
discusses todays plan for the sonar surveys and
data processing with Scott White (center) and Gregg Kurras
Why did you choose marine geophysics as your field of research?
After I earned my bachelors degree at Princeton University, I decided to go to
graduate school in geophysics. I like both geology and physics and I thought
that combining them would be fun. The ability to apply many different math and
physics techniques to solve a problem was also appealing to me, and geology is
a science that really requires the application of many different tools to solve
the research problems; math, physics, chemistry, and even biology some times
- thats what makes it so fascinating. So, I decided that the chance to
go to sea would tie together a lot of my scientific interests. I chose to attend
the University of California at Santa Barbara for graduate school because Dr.
Ken Macdonald, Rachels husband, was a professor there and was doing many
interesting experiments and had lots of cruises planned.
What things to you like or dislike about being at sea?
There are more things to like about going to sea than to dislike. The personal
interaction is great. The sense of community on board one of these cruises is
greater than what youd normally experience in any other workplace. Everyone
lives and works closely together on the ship; you get to know your colleagues
very well and often make long-lasting friendships and develop research programs
with people you meet. Also, there are the side benefits of being able to see
some unusual and exotic places. Ive had the opportunity to visit Easter
Island several times, and Ive been looking forward to visiting the Galapagos
Islands for a long time (something we will do on this cruise later in April).
Of course, I do miss Allegra, my wife, a lot while Im out at sea, thats
one of the hardships of being a marine scientist- time away from family.
points to where we are on the East Pacific Rise axis on a bathymetric
map. He is explaining to Kate Gans about how the morphology, or shape,
of the mid-ocean ridge is an indicator of how fast a ridge is spreading
and whether it is volcanically active. When the ridge is wider and
the crest is shallower it means that more lava has erupted there.
How did you get to go on this cruise and what is your job on board during this
Dan Fornari and I have been collaborating on other DSL-120 sonar data from the
Mid-Atlantic Ridge for the past year or so. We wrote a paper last year about
some of our interpretations and techniques for analyzing the sonar data and he
invited me to participate on this cruise to share in the search for new lava
flows on the East Pacific Rise axis and analysis of the sonar and other data
we will be collecting. My job is to work with Steve Gegg and the other data processors
on board to make sure that all of the digital data we collect are properly processed
using the computers on board. This includes the DSL-120 sonar imagery of the
seafloor, measurements of the sea water properties based on the MAPR data and
the electronic still camera images. I get to look at lots of different types
of data involving the all aspects of the research program on this expedition
which makes it very interesting.
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