GuyotPhysics 2017: Undergraduate Student Researchers

Professor Jessica C. E. Irving (Princeton)
Professor Frederik J. Simons (Princeton)
Professor Alain Plattner (Fresno)
We acquire and install geophysical instrumentation on campus, training undergraduate students in its use via summer internships and for thesis work. We continuously monitor the motion of a material point on campus using the Global Positioning System in a terrestrial reference frame, feed the data into a worldwide data center used for tectonic geodesy, and study the time series with students to uncover environmental (atmospheric humidity and total electronic content, weather and seasonality, snow depth, frost-thaw cycles, and so on), and possible anthropogenic effects. We establish a campus quiet site to listen to Earth sounds using a three-component seismometer, feed the data into a worldwide data center used for global seismology, and teach students how to compare and contrast the records with those recorded by an identical instrument already located in Guyot Hall, to separate noise from the built and inhabited environment (sonic booms, traffic, football fans, lawn parties) and man-made sources (blasting, fracking, quarrying, nuclear testing) from signals generated by the Earth itself (earthquakes, tides, free oscillations, atmospheric pressure systems). The geodetic and seismic stations are research-grade permanent additions to our ``campus as a laboratory'' teaching environment. Digital data are archived in perpetuity through the national data centers. Students trained will be ready for careers in monitoring the Earth and its physical environment.
The support of the Princeton Environmental Institute and the National Science Foundation are greatly acknowledged.

Geophysics in the Geosciences Department at Princeton University

Frederik Simons
Last modified: Sun Jul 2 22:11:30 EDT 2017