December 2016

I flew home for nine days after stumbling upon really cheap plane tickets (thank you, KLM!) -- It had been ~2 years since I had been in Istanbul.

Not much interesting geology, or work progress to report. I saw friends and relatives, ate copious amounts of Turkish food, and caught a cold.

One noteworthy thing was: A bomb exploded in Besiktas, a part of town I frequently went to, but that is not the noteworthy thing I want to point out. The strange thing about this was it made me uneasy, but everyone around me was okay with it.

I did a quick search on the recent terrorist attacks in Turkey, the list is long:

  • 12 Jan 2016 - Istanbul (Sultanahmet)
  • 13 Jan 2016 - Diyarbakir (Cinar)
  • 17 Feb 2016 - Ankara (Merasim Sok.)
  • 13 Mar 2016 - Ankara (Kizilay)
  • 19 Mar 2016 - Istanbul (Istiklal Cad.)
  • 27 Mar 2016 - Bursa (Merkez)
  • 31 Mar 2016 - Diyarbakir (Otogar)
  • 1 Apr 2016 - Mardin (Kiziltepe)
  • 1 May 2016 - Gaziantep (Emniyet Mudurlugu)
  • 10 May 2016 - Diyarbakir (Baglar)
  • 12 May 2016 - Istanbul (Sancaktepe)
  • 12 May 2016 - Diyarbakir (Durumlu Koyu)
  • 24 May 2016 - Van (Caldiran)
  • 7 Jun 2016 - Istanbul (Vezneciler)
  • 8 Jun 2016 - Mardin (Midyat)
  • 28 Jun 2016 - Istanbul (Ataturk Airport)
  • 1 Aug 2016 - Bingol
  • 18 Aug 2016 - Elazig (Emniyet Mudurlugu)
  • 20 Aug 2016 - Gaziantep
  • 26 Aug 2016 - Cizre (Emniyet Mudurlugu)
  • 6 Oct 2016 - Istanbul (Yenibosna)
  • 9 Oct 2016 - Hakkari (Semdinli)
  • 4 Nov 2016 - Diyarbakir (Emniyet Binasi)
  • 10 Nov 2016 - Mardin (Derik)
  • 24 Nov 2016 - Adana (Valilik)
  • 10 Dec 2016 - Istanbul (Besiktas)
  • 17 Dec 2016 - Kayseri

That's 460 people dead and it all averages to an attack every ~2.5 weeks this past year...

October 2016 II

Ever since Dr Juli Morgan is back from her sabbatical (in New Zealand!), she has been helping our research group a lot.

There are four individual research groups working on the same dataset. We all generate science, and that's great! ...except most of the time we don't know what the other groups are up to. We tried working on this problem with e-mail updates, Skype sessions, but not with much success.

Juli organized this Birmingham trip to bring the groups together so we can all discuss what's happening. We had some structural interpretation from Birmingham University, some processing of OBS data and tomography studies from University of Southampton, some surface/shallow sediment analysis from Lamont-Doherty and a bit of everything from Rice University.

Birmingham Uni campus is a pretty one.

Birmingham Uni campus is a pretty one.

Most of our stuff is completely unrelated to one another. It is rather interesting to see how everyone approaches the same dataset with so disparate methods, ideas, purposes. Then there are also some stuff where there is almost complete overlap...which is kind of eerie.

This happened with my research. We resolved it! Turns out one of my attribute analyses are almost identical to Gael Lymer's (Birmingham University) study. Our interpretations on this very similar map are, amusingly (and luckily!) rather different. I'm just really glad Juli organized this meeting. It was useful.

After the 3-day meeting, I took the train to Edinburgh, then Aberdeen to see some friends I used to work with. It was a bittersweet feeling, being back in Aberdeen. I disliked the Granite City about 70% of the time I lived there. I felt none of that for the two days I was there. That could be that Aberdeen wasn't gray and gloomy, or that I knew I wasn't about to get a call any minute to get sent to a rig.

That unusually sunny Aberdeen beach.

That unusually sunny Aberdeen beach.

My ex-housemate in Aberdeen Jumi and I, pretending to enjoy the Aberdeen weather.

My ex-housemate in Aberdeen Jumi and I, pretending to enjoy the Aberdeen weather.

October 2016

I attended the GSA Annual Meeting in Denver. This was the first time that I did recruiting for a university and presented poster in a big meeting.

Denver Convention Center and the big blue bear.

Denver Convention Center and the big blue bear.

The recruiting was alright. Mary Ann, our graduate coordinator prepared some materials that made the whole process really easy: copies of the newest quarterly departmental magazine, sort of "baseball card"-like cheat sheets for our professors, a sign up sheet to get more news, etc.

Hehe and I are attempting to recruit new grad students. Photo by Min Chen.

Hehe and I are attempting to recruit new grad students. Photo by Min Chen.

We were four volunteers in total, and we made it work between talks/poster presentations that we gave and sessions we wanted to listen. Hehe Jiang was a boss giving her talk. Sounded completely calm, which is something I cannot imagine myself doing in that situation.

My poster was titled "New characterization of the S-reflector detachment fault from Galicia Margin, offshore Spain", during the times I was not in front of it, my co-advisor Dr Gary Gray was there. I felt confident most of the time... I might be getting used to this.

September 2016

We traveled to Italy for another wedding!

Well... Maybe this is backwards logic. The wedding may have been the excuse to go to Italy. I've been studying Italian on and off since 2008, and my partner had quite a lot of miles accumulated with KLM. So we went for it.

In order, we visited Venice, Florence, Rome, and Capri.

My experience of each place was:
- Venice: Must fight jetlag, no naps. All coffee is delicious! I wonder if gondoliers get road rage. This city seems mostly abandoned and almost everyone here seems to be tourists like ourselves.

Canals mean you *will* get lost.

Canals mean you *will* get lost.

I ended up taking some stock photos to sketch up later.

I ended up taking some stock photos to sketch up later.


- Florence: Beautiful! Much cheaper compared to any other city we have been to in Italy. Definitely buy museum tickets in advance. I wish we went to less museums to really appreciate what we are seeing. That tiramisu was the best dessert I have ever had in my life.

Duplicates of original works. The details of hair, toes, shield captivates you.

Duplicates of original works. The details of hair, toes, shield captivates you.

Something Turkish in the Uffizi. Paintings of Ottoman sultans on the walls.

Something Turkish in the Uffizi. Paintings of Ottoman sultans on the walls.


- Rome + Vatican: We asked for an americano during breakfast and our waiter made fun of us. We met our friends for the wedding. Always go with the "table wine"/vino di tavolo, it never disappointed us. Metro is great. Carvings on the buildings and statues are overwhelming. Vatican takes an entire day.

The guidebook said the mustache on the statue was 5 ft wide.

The guidebook said the mustache on the statue was 5 ft wide.

We of course went to see the Colosseum. The lines were long as they x-ray everyone's backpacks.

We of course went to see the Colosseum. The lines were long as they x-ray everyone's backpacks.

Rock art from Galleria Borghese!

Rock art from Galleria Borghese!


- Capri: Island off of Naples. Wedding took place next to a light house, there was a Cretaceous limestone cave on a nearby cliff that kept catching my eye. It was beautiful, the food was amazing. The island itself was very expensive in general.

View of Capri.

View of Capri.

On the way to the patio in Villa San Michele. A Swedish doctor/poet/animal lover lived in this building. It's now turned into a gallery/museum.

On the way to the patio in Villa San Michele. A Swedish doctor/poet/animal lover lived in this building. It's now turned into a gallery/museum.

The shades of blue... I can see why he chose to live here.

The shades of blue... I can see why he chose to live here.

Before we went to Italy, I was trying to quit caffeine for a variety of reasons (poor sleep quality, increased anxiety, caffeine not doing its job as much as it did before). I feel like after this experience, I'm back to square one. Oh, welcome back, caffeine headaches.

August 2016

We flew to Washington again to visit my partner's grandparents and attend a wedding. We tried to do hiking paths than the last time we were here. This time we went with: some Hurricane Ridge trails and Shi Shi Beach.

No rain, but the clouds did not let us see much.

No rain, but the clouds did not let us see much.

Folded rock from Hurricane Ridge.

Folded rock from Hurricane Ridge.

On the way back from Shi Shi beach. We stopped by the Makah Cultural and Research Center beforehand to get permits to enter the Neah area.

On the way back from Shi Shi beach. We stopped by the Makah Cultural and Research Center beforehand to get permits to enter the Neah area.

I also stumbled upon an interesting book that combines history, seismology and Japanese language. Looking forward to reading it.

July 2016

The significant other was off from work, so we drove to Enchanted Rock State Park for a weekend camping trip. The park was significantly smaller than I thought, we managed to combine all trails into a ~20 km walk/hike and "finish" Enchanted Rock in one day.

View from the post-batholith walk. Hot, but at least cloudy.

View from the post-batholith walk. Hot, but at least cloudy.

Aside from the hike up to the large dome of pinkish tan colored granite pluton batholith in the middle of the park, it was mostly just walking.

We had an early start and entered the park around 7:30 am. It was fine around then, when we came back, it was strange to see all the parking spaces filled up. I would highly recommend avoiding starting late (or going there during the weekends).

SO pointing out to an intrusion.

SO pointing out to an intrusion.

May 2016

School is out one more time! As the (majority of the) extension seminar class, we traveled to Las Vegas, NV to start our mostly road trip to Grand Canyon and Death Valley. The Trip was led by our own Dr Gray and Dr Sawyer with guidance from Dr John from U Wyoming.

A happy Nur in Grand Canyon only to soon realize it gets fairly cold there quickly once the sun sets.

A happy Nur in Grand Canyon only to soon realize it gets fairly cold there quickly once the sun sets.

We managed to see: The Hoover Dam (considering that this was built in 1931, it was a jaw dropping sight), South Rim of Grand Canyon, Chemehuevi and Whipples Core Complexes, Las Vegas Fracture Zone, Death Valley's Salt Flats and Racetrack Playa.

Our first long stop during day 1 came with a fantastic view of Hoover Dam.

Our first long stop during day 1 came with a fantastic view of Hoover Dam.

Dr. Gray pointing out what we will see that day in Parker, AZ. Most days would start this way.

Dr. Gray pointing out what we will see that day in Parker, AZ. Most days would start this way.

Standing on the fault surface in the Whipples. That grayish/greenish segment is chlorited breccia. It reminded us of the S-reflector from Galicia.

Standing on the fault surface in the Whipples. That grayish/greenish segment is chlorited breccia. It reminded us of the S-reflector from Galicia.

We made it to the south rim of the Grand Canyon about 20 minutes before the sunset. After trying to identify the strata until dark, we left for our first inn of the trip. Needless to say, the scenery was amazing.

We made it to the south rim of the Grand Canyon about 20 minutes before the sunset. After trying to identify the strata until dark, we left for our first inn of the trip. Needless to say, the scenery was amazing.

Salt flats in Death Valley. We must have gained a lot of elevation here, I remember seeing 79 deg F just before we left the car for this stop, as opposed to the usual 100+ deg F.

Salt flats in Death Valley. We must have gained a lot of elevation here, I remember seeing 79 deg F just before we left the car for this stop, as opposed to the usual 100+ deg F.

Ubehebe Crater, DV. I believe we all just walk around the rim, but Dr Gray was the only brave one to hike down and back up this thing. Unrelatedly... It baffles me how there are huge age uncertainties for this structure.

Ubehebe Crater, DV. I believe we all just walk around the rim, but Dr Gray was the only brave one to hike down and back up this thing. Unrelatedly... It baffles me how there are huge age uncertainties for this structure.

Last day in Death Valley. After making *ahem* insightful observations in the Racetrack Playa, there may have been some shenanigans involving imaginary fireballs. Photo by Xiayu Wang.

Last day in Death Valley. After making *ahem* insightful observations in the Racetrack Playa, there may have been some shenanigans involving imaginary fireballs. Photo by Xiayu Wang.

Not as famous but not forgotten: Thick brecciated normal fault gouges in the Whipples, long hike to the Colorado River with surprise ventifacts and desert pavement, trilobite hunt within Death Valley, numerous copper mine shafts with malachites and azurites... and that afternoon heat.

It was a wonderful trip. I haven't been to any of these destinations and I have never driven for a field trip before. I enjoyed this whole experience. Aside from all the geology, I also learned a valuable lesson: If the recommended packing list has chapstick, you better bring chapstick. Death Valley was probably the driest place I have been...

When going to DV, you should follow the "items to bring" list religiously, otherwise you might end up in Death Valley Health Center, which is a real place apparently. Photo by Xiayu Wang.

When going to DV, you should follow the "items to bring" list religiously, otherwise you might end up in Death Valley Health Center, which is a real place apparently. Photo by Xiayu Wang.

PS: As it is the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service and we were traveling to two national parks in this trip... I sort of began the national parks passport stamp collection scheme. It's another reason to look forward to traveling. This is not so unlike my strange addiction to Steam achievements. Oh well. It can't be too bad.

February 2016

Industry-Rice Earth Science Symposia (IRESS) 2016 is here. Unlike last year, I presented a poster. It was less intimidating than I had imagined. Maybe I am getting used to it.

This year's IRESS theme was continental margin evolution. I hear next year and 2018 will also be continental margins. Exciting stuff!

This year's IRESS theme was continental margin evolution. I hear next year and 2018 will also be continental margins. Exciting stuff!

My research group fellow Brian Jordan gave the student speech/presentation of this year, and there was a slide attributed to what I'm doing (interpretation of the S-reflector of the Galicia). It was funny (and also slightly embarrassing) when people showed up to my poster session and asked me what I did to get that sort of advertisement.

January 2016

I am a TA for the first time! I will be helping my advisor Dr Sawyer to teach the 2016 Spring Seismic Reflection Data Processing course. Although this is a good experience, I would be lying if I said I wasn't excited. I have never "taught" a class.

I have prepared some tutorial PDFs and I am going over previous years' assignments to make up some coherent weekly homework assignments.

November 2015

 I participated in PetroChallenge, an event sponsored by Schlumberger's NExT. It is a two day, simulation-based, exploration and production-themed game where you are partnered with people from other backgrounds. There were a lot of Rice Earth Science PSM students. On the regular-track thesis program side, it was just me and my office mate Gary. 

   It was a lot of fun! I hope it becomes an annual event and more people participate in years to come. To give a short summary: Each team looks at some simplified geophysical data and comes up with an offshore block that they want to drill and produce. They bid on this block and start paying for more expensive geophysical data such as 3-D seismic reflection and exploration wells. Then comes the costly part of building infrastructure (production platforms, pipelines and whatnot). The team with the highest worth wins!

 

   The pros with OilSim, the game software, involved:

- For a person with no geoscience background, it's a great way to cover what geophysical signs to look for in gravity, magnetic and seismic reflection data. Our speaker did a very good job going over what basins, traps, reservoirs are.

- Teams are rewarded points for spending money on schools, orphanages, sports teams, clean energy constructions (and even bribery!) in the country they are operating at which is biased in the overall scores. Teams who go the extra mile and spend money on safety and environment (using blow-out preventers, buying data on environmentally-sensitive areas to avoid them) are rewarded extra points.

- It becomes highly amusing as some of your actions can cause negative or positive points. You choose to do an action to earn these credibility points and end up with less than what you had initially had. It is randomized and the gambling feels fun.

- Teams are encouraged to partner up with one another to lessen their own costs and maximize their profits. It was surprising to see how most teams wanted to keep 70-80% of their shares. This is exactly the opposite of what super majors would do in such an expensive exploration setting. 

  

   The cons with OilSim were:

- The geophysics part... was so very simple. It all came down to "look for small numbers", "look for anticlines", "your well test was a success/failure". Overall, it gave me the impression that the game was designed for economy majors.

- Some of the actions seemed out of order. Teams should look at risk maps the same time they are looking at geophysical maps. OilSim takes you through to the building a production platform segment and then shows you that your facility might be in grave danger of a hurricane/earthquake. Or... Why would I build infrastructure in a country where I haven't made money yet? That should come after the production has begun.

- The first day was very fast-paced and the second day just sort dragged on. Our presenters tried to keep everyone interested, but you could easily determine which teams will end up in the top three category on the decisions based on the first day.

 

I still recommend anyone to attend if they see PetroChallenge being hosted in their school. It was a fun and interactive experience. I really liked how the teams were assigned by NExT and they did a very good job of making diverse teams. My team had a chemical engineer major, an economist, a statistician and me, the geophysicist. 

Team 9: The Rolling Stone Exploration (after losing all hope of winning). From left to right: Chandler (economy), Ben (statistics), Megan (chemical engineering) and me. During the last challenge we thought about changing our name to "Mediocre Exploration Inc."

Team 9: The Rolling Stone Exploration (after losing all hope of winning). From left to right: Chandler (economy), Ben (statistics), Megan (chemical engineering) and me. During the last challenge we thought about changing our name to "Mediocre Exploration Inc."

Backstage shenanigans during dinner. We found these large checks for the winner and the runner up. I think all of the people in this photo (save Jennifer and Jessie) knew they certainly weren't winning, hence the goofy expressions. From left to right: Tina, Jennifer, Gary, me, Jessie. Photo taken by Zac Zhai.

Backstage shenanigans during dinner. We found these large checks for the winner and the runner up. I think all of the people in this photo (save Jennifer and Jessie) knew they certainly weren't winning, hence the goofy expressions. From left to right: Tina, Jennifer, Gary, me, Jessie. Photo taken by Zac Zhai.

Everything aside, our PSM students, Caitlin's team, won first place, and, Jessie's team, won second place (Go Rice Earth Science!) and received $1000 and $500 as an award! Schlumberger also gave each member a small gift bag and an internship or a full-time job interview promise. I believe all of those are good incentives to do the PetroChallenge if the experience isn't enough. 

November 2015

With two other undergrads and three other grad students, I helped out at the Women's Energy Network's (WEN) 12th annual Young Women Energized (YWE) event. A lot of acronyms...

   We set up a small booth and then later broke into small discussion panels to talk to some Houston high school girls about getting a degree in STEM, going to grad school, working in the oil and gas industry, etc. Most of the students I talked to were graduating in 2017 and had little or no clue what they wanted to do. Most think they will declare a single major without having the option to change it, get stuck in that particular field and have anxiety and guilt over not already knowing what this major is going to be. I could hear myself from 9-10 years ago, going through the same feelings. I hope I helped some students. Two of the girls I talked to in the first panel approached me in the end to tell me that they somewhat felt better about not having a clear idea yet, and both are now considering geosciences as their major. YAY!

   Let's talk about the event itself. The biggest criticism I have is about the event logo and the banter almost all of the speakers had about putting make-up on, wearing high heels and having nice hair. I realize the event is for high school girls, but... Seriously? That's what you want to talk about in an event where declaring STEM majors is the main topic? "You can be an engineer and still be pretty!" is a weird way to approach this discussion. It is too stereotypical.

Your typical STEM major girl.

Your typical STEM major girl.

It all reminded me of how they try to create a Computer Engineer Barbie persona (among others) to make the feminine, one-dimensional doll into a busy, talented, smart, empowering character. While doing so, they touch on more stereotypes like the girl needs help from guys to get her computer fixed...    

I digress. WEN gives out a lot of scholarships to high school students, and events like this are great to educate young girls on declaring majors, deciding on working for the oil and gas industry or choosing to do research. They are a great organization, I'm glad they exist. I just really wish the need for this "You can be STEM and still be a pretty girl!" advertisement would stop. I worked with a fair amount of sexist men on drilling rigs. Trust me, these girls don't have to be reminded that after going for STEM, they might be the minority in the workplace but they can still be feminine. There are enough people out there who will go out of their way to do exactly that. 

Adeene, our double-majoring, versatile undergrad posing with my old hard hat, a.k.a. what a real STEM major girl looks like.

Adeene, our double-majoring, versatile undergrad posing with my old hard hat, a.k.a. what a real STEM major girl looks like.

Rice Earth Science students who volunteered to assist with the event. From left to right: The grad students Sriparna, Ruth (who is been to Antarctica!), and the undergrads Adeene and Kelsey.

Rice Earth Science students who volunteered to assist with the event. From left to right: The grad students Sriparna, Ruth (who is been to Antarctica!), and the undergrads Adeene and Kelsey.

Us waiting for girls to ask about the well logs, seismic data or the very dirty orange coveralls in the background.

Us waiting for girls to ask about the well logs, seismic data or the very dirty orange coveralls in the background.

Hundreds of high school girls screaming to answer some questions to win a prize.

Hundreds of high school girls screaming to answer some questions to win a prize.

October 2015

 It is the 85th Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG) Annual Meeting! It was a nice opportunity to travel to New Orleans. The SEG event was less flashy compared to last year, but I'm happy I went even for just the first two days. The INT1 (Attribute Analysis for Stratigraphy) and SS (Recent Advances and the Road Ahead) talks were my priority, I had the chance to listen to a few of the talks. The Student Challenge Bowl was highly amusing, it could be fun to gather up a team in Rice University and participate. Adjunct professor Steve Danbom was one of judges and he mentioned that Rice had one of the Bowls a few years ago.

   I also joined the SEG wiki team and I'm now looking forward to contributing to that database. In case you haven't heard so far, Oz Yilmaz's Seismic Data Analysis, volumes both I and II, are uploaded on SEG wiki. Extremely useful.

Not much geology, but French Quarter and little art stores were beautiful.

Not much geology, but French Quarter and little art stores were beautiful.

September 2015

Small step in the PhD, but I passed my preliminary exam! I hear most universities don't have this sort of an exam for the new students. Here, first year master's and PhD students are required to take a general geology knowledge exam. It takes about 3 hours, and it was... Surprisingly easy. I don't know what I expected. We were told that students get two attempts, and sometimes people do fail. 

July 2015

  Over the 4th of July weekend, I traveled to Washington to visit my partner's grandparents. Coincidentally, at the time I was reading the volcanoes chapter in John Grotzinger's textbook Understanding Earth for my preliminary exam next fall. I became one of those people who attempt to photograph scenery from a tiny airplane window...

   The place we stayed was not more than a mile away from the Olympic National Park

Mt Rainier from the tiny plane window. 

Mt Rainier from the tiny plane window. 

After a decent amount of elevation gain on the Heart O' The Hills trail. Living in Texas makes you appreciate the mountains more.

After a decent amount of elevation gain on the Heart O' The Hills trail. Living in Texas makes you appreciate the mountains more.

Tide pools! Apparently there was a massive forest fire on the Canadian side, which caused the sky to be a grayish orange for the next few days.

Tide pools! Apparently there was a massive forest fire on the Canadian side, which caused the sky to be a grayish orange for the next few days.

May 2015

 School is out! And Rice University's Earth Science Department had a type locale field trip to Turkey! Our very own Andre Droxler and Jerry Dickens led the trip along with some professors (and their assistants) from ITU, my previous university.

   I served as the translator (and even the navigator for a short period of time), saw some beautiful outcrops and went to places I either didn't have the chance before or would not have the chance due to security issues (marble quarry, gold mine, etc.), being a civilian and all.

We covered a significant amount of distance. GPS datapoints collected by our geochemist Hehe Jiang.

We covered a significant amount of distance. GPS datapoints collected by our geochemist Hehe Jiang.

Andre Droxler and Celal Sengor's PhD student Semih Can Ulgen talking about our stops of the day. It was a lot of paleozoic rocks around Istanbul. Photo taken by Jeffrey Piccirillo.

Andre Droxler and Celal Sengor's PhD student Semih Can Ulgen talking about our stops of the day. It was a lot of paleozoic rocks around Istanbul. Photo taken by Jeffrey Piccirillo.

Having a dilemma with serpentinite samples. At this point, I had already collected too many samples and we weren't even halfway done with the field trip. Photo taken by Jeffrey Piccirillo.

Having a dilemma with serpentinite samples. At this point, I had already collected too many samples and we weren't even halfway done with the field trip. Photo taken by Jeffrey Piccirillo.

In Pamukkale, with another PhD student Harsha ('Harsh Reality') Vora who specializes in petrophysics. Photo taken by Jeffrey Piccirillo.

In Pamukkale, with another PhD student Harsha ('Harsh Reality') Vora who specializes in petrophysics. Photo taken by Jeffrey Piccirillo.

Beautiful travertines in Pamukkale. It was surprising to see how preserved it is now. 10-15 years ago, this would have been a different view. Photo taken by Jeffrey Piccirillo.

Beautiful travertines in Pamukkale. It was surprising to see how preserved it is now. 10-15 years ago, this would have been a different view. Photo taken by Jeffrey Piccirillo.

A marble quarry we crashed. Needless to say, we had a very brave driver who didn't even question any of our leaders' suggestions for outcrops. Photo, once again, taken by Jeffrey Piccirillo.

A marble quarry we crashed. Needless to say, we had a very brave driver who didn't even question any of our leaders' suggestions for outcrops. Photo, once again, taken by Jeffrey Piccirillo.

A few people from our group in Miletus. Photo taken by Jeffrey Piccirillo.

A few people from our group in Miletus. Photo taken by Jeffrey Piccirillo.

Jerry Dickens suggested we stopped here to fully appreciate the ductile deformation. Photo by Jeffrey Piccirillo.

Jerry Dickens suggested we stopped here to fully appreciate the ductile deformation. Photo by Jeffrey Piccirillo.

To stay cool in the hot Mediterranean summer, we are hugging marbles with Pankaj Khanna, a PhD student who studies carbonates with Andre. Photo taken by Hehe Jiang in Ephesus.

To stay cool in the hot Mediterranean summer, we are hugging marbles with Pankaj Khanna, a PhD student who studies carbonates with Andre. Photo taken by Hehe Jiang in Ephesus.

I had the chance to see the construction of the highly opposed 3rd bridge in Bosphorus, Istanbul. Black Sea at distance. Photo taken by Gary Linkevich.

I had the chance to see the construction of the highly opposed 3rd bridge in Bosphorus, Istanbul. Black Sea at distance. Photo taken by Gary Linkevich.

(Shameless plug time: For more photographs by Jeffrey Piccirillo, click here. I love his work!)

February 2015

As the class of ESCI 427, we traveled to New Mexico. The trip was led by Keriann Pederson from Exxon, Rice University adjunct Vitor Abreu (also from Exxon) and Andre Droxler.

   It was interesting, to say the least. Most of the class assignments are sitting in the lab with color pencils, trying to distinguish stratigraphic surfaces on seismic reflection data or well logs... which can get monotone. We had the opportunity to look at the outcrops in a seismic scale, see how the sorting changed on the rock, notice the telltale signs of flooding and transgression.

   I learned a lot. The only downside was it was cold. Really, really cold. I don't know if it was ever part of the plan, but when we arrived at the Guadalupe Mountain visitor center, we were told not to climb it because of the snow.

Discouraged by the snow in front of Guadalupe Mountain Visitor Center. Photo by Gary Linkevich.

Discouraged by the snow in front of Guadalupe Mountain Visitor Center. Photo by Gary Linkevich.

Group photo in front of the El Capitan. (Photo credit once more Gary Linkevich)

Group photo in front of the El Capitan. (Photo credit once more Gary Linkevich)

Going into the Carlsbad Caverns, which is huge... But apparently it's only the fifth largest cave in North America. Photo taken by our class TA Pankaj Khanna.

Going into the Carlsbad Caverns, which is huge... But apparently it's only the fifth largest cave in North America. Photo taken by our class TA Pankaj Khanna.

January 2015

   Alright, nothing to see here. Just starting a PhD. No big deal. 

   I received my office key (KWG 305) and my office mates are good people. Mari has been here since 2012 and she is a great resource, if you are dealing with ProMAX and Petrel. Gary is tech-savvy and seems to have a broad range of interests. I think he changed the room sign to add my name, which was a very nice gesture.