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Here are some of the articles that have been recently posted to the PASSCAL website:

Remembering Jim Fowler

Jim Fowler's life was celebrated on June 27th at the PASSCAL Instrument Center. Members of Jim's family, as well as IRIS/PASSCAL team members from both the past and the present, were on hand to share memories of Jim's life and his career with the PASSCAL Instrument Center.

Image: Fowler family members visiting the Jim Fowler Seismometer Testing Observatory, located at the PASSCAL Instrument Center in Socorro, NM.

 

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Staff Scientist / Seismic Projects Engineer

The IRIS PASSCAL Instrument Center at New Mexico Tech is seeking applicants to fill the position of Staff Scientist/Seismic Projects Engineer. Primary responsibility is to support Transportable Array engineering projects both in the lab and in the field.

Duties include: Design and fabrication of specialized equipment; Transportable Array field support; test, develop and apply methods for testing seismic instrumentation and ancillary scientific equipment; produce reports, and maintain documentation and web content related to testing of scientific equipment.

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Passing of Former PASSCAL Program Manager Jim Fowler

Jim Fowler passed away on February 25, 2014 after a lengthy battle with cancer and Parkinson’s disease. Jim began his career at IRIS consortium (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology) in 1985 as Chief Engineer in Washington, DC, and later became the first manager for the PASSCAL portable instrument program. In 1999, after New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology was selected to operate the IRIS/PASSCAL Instrument Center, the nation’s sole lending library for research seismological instrumentation, Jim moved back to his home state of New Mexico. Jim stepped down as the PASSCAL Program Manager in October 2010 after 25 years in that position, but continued as Senior Advisor for Engineering and Instrumentation until he retired in February 2013 and moved back to Maryland.

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Transantarctic Mountains Deployments

 

Audrey Huerta, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at Central Washington University, has graciously provided some videos of recent installations and deployments in the Transantarctic Mountains. They include footage of using a chain saw to deploy solar panels in the ice, a time lapse of a polar seismic system installation, and thermochronology sampling while rappelling.

(Photograph courtesy NSF)

Getting It Perfect at OIINK

Gary Pavlis and Terry Stigall of Indiana University are proud of their geophysics students. The students were helping them to deploy some new direct-burial stations with Trillium broadband sensors for the OIINK project (a.k.a. SDYNAC, "Structure and Dynamics of the North American Craton"), and Terry directed them to get them perfectly level and lined up to north accurately. The students outdid themselves, and helped to make this a superb installation.

These students are from Gary Pavlis' Applied Geophysics class. They spent a weekend installing stations for the OIINK project.

Clockwise from upper right: Tyler Merrell, Steven Downey, Crystal Wespestad, and Brenden Fenerty.

Photographs courtesy Terry Stigall.

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RefTek GPS Alert


Dear PASSCAL Users:

This note is to alert all past and current users of RefTek RT130 hardware that these instruments have been experiencing GPS failures in-field. To date, the failures are geographically confined to East Africa and symptoms include intermittent or total loss of timing.

It is worth noting that in reviewing close to two years of repair records, 1303 GPS have been returned to PIC from 69 experiments, excluding those in East Africa, and the total number of GPS units that needed any type of maintenance or repair was 30. There is no evidence at this time that there is a global problem with our RefTek GPS.

We are recommending that all users of PASSCAL RefTek RT130 dataloggers review their data and log files for signs of GPS failure that are consistent with the failures seen in East Africa. To identify failure behavior please visit this page for a brief tutorial. If you identify failures in your data, please contact passcal [at] passcal [dot] nmt [dot] edu and include "RT130 GPS failure" in the subject line and unit serial numbers in the body of the email.

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Education and Public Outreach at PASSCAL - French School Visit

On Friday, November 1st 2013, a group of students and teachers from Bethesda, Maryland's Lycée Rochambeau/ French International School visited the IRIS/PASSCAL facility on Socorro NM for some hands-on demonstrations of how seismic measurements are used to "see" geological strata underground.  The class, led by instructor Marc Roux, head of the Biology and Geology Department, were assisted by PASSCAL scientists Greg Chavez and Michael Johnson during the deployment of a long string of geophones and a multi-channel data acquisition system.  The students then used heavy hammers to produce active source tremors, and then were able to see the seismic responses in real time.  The class assembled in the PASSCAL conference room to hear PASSCAL scientists/data specialists Dr. Wallis Hutton and KatyLiz Anderson discuss how such measurements can be used to find the depth of subsurface structures like the Moho.  The visit was capped with a tour of the PASSCAL facility, led by scientist/software engineer Dave Thomas. (Photo: student Salomé Carcy; credit: Dr. Wallis Hutton)

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Nature Magazine Marks Transportable Array Milestone

A November 5th article in the prestigious journal Nature discusses a major milestone in the Transportable Array project. In her article "US seismic array eyes its final frontier," Nature's Alexandra Witze writes

On Maine’s rugged coast, just north of the tourist town of Boothbay, an underground seismometer is listening for earthquakes. Engineers activated it on 26 September, completing the US$90-million Transportable Array, an ambitious effort to blanket the contiguous United States with a moveable grid of seismic monitors ... "As the array has moved, the whole picture of what’s under North America has gotten much sharper," says Andy Frassetto, a seismologist at the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) in Washington DC, which operates the stations.

P.I. Transition coming to the IRIS/PASSCAL Instrument Center

After 15 years of shepherding the IRIS PASSCAL Instrument Center as Principal Investigator, Rick Aster will be leaving NM Tech to begin a new phase of his career at Colorado State University as Geosciences Department Head, beginning in January of 2014. Principal Investigator duties will be assumed by Susan Bilek, Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Science beginning October 1, 2013. After moving to Colorado, Rick will remain engaged with IRIS as an active community member and as Chair of the Data Management System Standing Committee, and will continue to interact with Sue, NM Tech, and the Instrument Center on continuing projects and as a user of IRIS facilities for Antarctic and other research.

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IRIS/PASSCAL Intern Caps Busy Summer with Alaska Deployment at Poker Flat

It's been a busy summer for IRIS/PASSCAL intern Kasey Aderhold, a PhD Candidate at the Department of Earth & Environment, Boston University. Kasey has been heavily involved in an ongoing comparison of seismic vaults to direct burial installations at two sites: the Dotson Ranch near Socorro, NM, and Poker Flat in Alaska.