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Recent images from Tony Fiorini

Science in Virgina

As many of you know, I spent last week helping my wife install seismometers in Virginia and North Carolina. She and her colleage Maggie Benoit of The College of New Jersey have begun a project called The Test Experiment for Eastern North America (TEENA). It is a pilot project designed to probe the structure and dynamics of the eastern US passive continental margin and to understand the connections between the surface geology and deep crustal and mantle structure. The instruments are being deployed during the summer of 2009 from the coast in North Carolina to eastern Ohio and will remain in the field for approximately 8 months. These seismometers detect earthquakes all over the world and record them, then the data is collected and analyzed to learn more about the structure of the earth where the instrument is located. I really don't understand much of how that happens, so don't ask. What I do know is how to construct solar panel frames form PVC and steel rebar, dig holes, glue PVC, thread cables and drive 1800 miles. Because that is really all I did. She did all the hard stuff like drawing a very exact north-south line on the concrete pad using a compass. Not just any compass, but a Brunton, the camera of a equivalent of a D3 or 1Ds Mark III. Placing the instrument on that line, EXACTLY, and leveling it. All this in the bottom of a barrel 4 feet in the ground. We also had to run all the wires through PVC and into a waterproof box. Inside the box are the battery, which is recharged by the solar panel and data logger, which collects and stores the data from the seismometer. Oddly enough, the data is stored on compact flash cards, just like the ones I use in my cameras. The 4GB cards can hold about 3 months of data.

Here are some photos of the installation, I will try to explain each photo in a caption underneath it.

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Here you see the blue barrel buried in the ground, the concrete has been poured into it and PVC is being fitted to the barrel lid.

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That north-south line I was talking about.

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Here the seismometer is in place and lined up.

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My expertly constructed solar panel frame.

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The battery and data logger in the electronics box.

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Electronics box on the left, instrument vault (aka blue barrel) and PVC piping.

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Another view of my solar panel frame, isn't it pretty?

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Maggie's husband and son joined us on the last day, he is a cute kid.

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And he knows how to act!