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PASSCAL Staff in the News

It's been an eventful media week for several of the staff of IRIS PASSCAL, who were highlighted in a lengthy piece on women in science in the New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperative Association's magazine, enchantment, which is the second largest publication in New Mexico. Then, when a small earthquake rocked Socorro, more PASSCAL staff were prominently featured in a report on the quake in the local newspaper of record, El Defensor Chieftain.


The cover of the March 2013 issue of the New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperative Association's magazine, enchantment, features several scientists from the IRIS PASSCAL Instrument Center.  The full article, by Chris Eboch, is available online here (pages 14-15). This picture shows the pilots and science crew of the 2008-2009 Gamburtsev Mountains season, representing the United States, Canada and Japan.  Several staff from IRIS PASSCAL are shown: Tim Parker is standing at far left, and Guy Tytgat is 7th from the left, in the red coat.  Mouse Reusch is 3rd from the left on the sled.  (Photo courtesy Mouse Reusch. Photographs reproduced with the permission of enchantment Magazine, published by the New Mexico Rural Electric Cooperative Association.)

(Read more on PASSCAL assistance with mapping of the ice-cloaked Gamburtsev Mountains here.)

PASSCAL's Mouse Reusch (left) and Pnina Miller (right) are the main stars of the enchantment article, in which writer Chris Eboch describes their personal journeys to lives in science, and careers at the PASSCAL Instrument Center. Ms. Eboch writes "Many people picture a certain stereotype when they hear the word 'scientist' – male, antisocial, and stuck in a lab. Pnina Miller and Mouse Reusch of Socorro counteract the cliché. Both work at IRIS PASSCAL, the short name for The Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) Program for Array Seismic Studies of the Continental Lithosphere (PASSCAL) Instrument Center at New Mexico Tech. In layperson terms, they work with scientists studying the interior of the Earth." (Photographs courtesy of Mouse Reusch (left) and Pnina Miller(right).)



In this photograph, Pnina Miller is shown helping Jordanian team member Hussam recover a geophone sensor and a "Texan" digitizer.  Ms. Eboch writes "At PASSCAL, she [Pnina] says, 'I could go into the field and do fun research and play with the equipment. ... Throughout all of the places [Pnina has traveled], the people I work with in geosciences are very excited about it and want to learn more.'"  (Photograph courtesy Pnina Miller.)

This picture shows PASSCAL's Mouse Reusch (gold shirt) helping a team from Cameroon, Africa to deploy a temporary seismic station.  Chris Eboch described Mouse's activities in detail:  "'I’m in the data group, working with the researchers that Pnina trained to collect data. They’re required by National Science Foundation guidelines to make their data publicly available. I help them archive it in a consistent and standardized format. Then it becomes available for anyone in the world to use. The place that we work really does help further seismology around the world.'" The article concludes with an appeal for young people to pursue careers in science: "Pnina advises young scientists, 'If there’s something you want to explore, head in that direction. You never know what you might discover.'  Mouse adds, 'There are so many mysteries out there, in the ground, above the ground, in the water, in space. You need imagination and curiosity. I have fun nearly every day.' As these women prove, science doesn't just take place in a lab, so there are opportunities for the most adventurous spirit." (Photograph by Doug Wiens of the Washington University in St. Louis.)


On the last day of February 2013, a small earthquake rocked Socorro at about 7:15 AM local time. The event was covered in the Socorro newspaper, El Defensor Chieftain, in an article which appeared on March 2nd, 2013. Elva Osterreich wrote "People started calling IRIS PASSCAL Instrument Center investigator Richard Aster early Thursday morning to report a shaky feeling they had experienced. 'A lot of people called and said they felt it,' he said."


The United States Geological Survey's refined estimate of the quake's magnitude found it be somewhat larger. The Socorro quake of Feb. 28th registered 3.4 on the Richter scale. (Details here.)

The Chieftain article also mentions PASSCAL's George Slad, shown standing at right. (Photo by Dave Thomas.)

"George Slad, a staff scientist and data specialist at the instrument center, was sitting in his chair at work when the quake occurred.'I heard it first,' he said. 'I heard a rumbling. Maybe like an L-train going past in Chicago.' Slad started to look outside, but then he saw the walls shake a little and his chair rolled a little and he knew exactly what it was. 'Then I looked at our test stations and the data confirmed it,' Slad said. 'It was exciting. I have lived and worked in Socorro on and off for 19 years and this was the first time I felt it.'"


We thank the editors of enchantment and El Defensor Chieftain for their splendid coverage of activities at IRIS PASSCAL.

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