Tuesday, December 15, 2009

AGU 2009, Day One

So! I'm going to attempt what, given my past history with regular updating, may seem like a futile effort. That is, I'm going to try and blog every day of this year's American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting (in San Francisco, as usual) separately. This is just as much a way to not gloss over things as it is a way to try and practice general better blogging habits. This meeting has already stressed the importance of blogs for communication, and the possibilities of using Twitter both for spreading and collecting information about various geological/enviromental/hazard/etc. events. I've certainly been tweeting a lot lately, but my blog is now saying, "Don't leave me for that biiiird!" And so, daily entries for the conference. Yes.
(I'll also be dumping a day-by-day of the class trip to Kīlauea in here soon - possibly later today, if the UCR booth in the exhibitor hall has low traffic.)

The very first talk of the very first Tectonophysics section yesterday was one I really wanted to go to. It involved the formation of the San Andreas Fault, with comparisons to the transform boundary in New Zealand. Alarm clock failure (in that, it did not go off) prevented me from attending, but I was able to get going quickly enough that I made it in to the middle of the second talk of the session (about a possible shift of the North American-Pacific plate boundary to the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada). The whole morning in the Tectonophysics group was devoted to continental transform boundaries, in fact. Most of these talks were focused on characterizing these boundaries, whether by classical mapping, looking at seismicity or paleoseismic data, or studying (very very shiny awesome) LiDAR images. There was a definite focus on geometry at several scales - map, or fault surface roughness, or shape of the damage zone. There was not, however, much talk of earthquake behavior on these systems, but thatʻs the divide between this group and the Seismology one, I suppose! I opted to listen to as many of the continental transform talks as I could, since my work is all about looking at rupture dynamics and ground motion on faults with geometrical complexities, and thereʻs a good chance that Iʻll be looking at the constraints on fault structure and geometry that researchers in the Tectonophysics group in constructing dynamic models sometime in the future.
(I was, however, slightly disappointed, that the Garlock talk basically led to the conclusion that "everyone still has completely different ideas of how much this thing is slipping." Ah well!)

After lunch (and after inflicting Hawaiʻi photos on a friend from Berkeley), I headed into the poster hall to get a look at as many more things about geometrically-complex strike-slip faults as I could. I got in some skimming before coming to a poster about segmentation and postseismic stress state in the Landers earthquake. I ended up getting into a great and detailed conversation with the poster-presenter, and before I knew it, it was time to go to another session.

The last session I went to was completely out of my area of more than scant knowledge, but at the same time, it was something that has interested me since I was ten years old. The session in question was a planetary science one, discussing this summerʻs Jupiter impact. The session was under embargo, so I wonʻt go into anything about what was actually said (other than the fact that Jupiter is apparently, quote, "insidious" about not showing features under certain filters), but it sent me back to that place of ten-year-old wonder when Shoemaker-Levy 9 slammed into Jupiter in 1994. That impact entirely captivated me, to the point where I was making an attempt to understand NASA press releases, contacting discoverers of the comet by email (seriously), and making my parents take me to a Smithsonian press conference about the impact. Iʻm not really sure I know much more about comets now than I did at the peak of my astronomy obsession, and Iʻm sure I was more timid about asking questions yesterday than I would have been in 1995, but I still thoroughly enjoyed hearing everything that the presenters had to share about this new impact.

The evening was occupied by a meetup of Geonerds On Twitter at 21st Amendment on 2nd Street. I had no idea what to expect in terms of attendance or formality of discussion, but there was a huge turnout and a very fun casual air about the whole thing. It was absolutely great to put faces to the names Iʻve been interacting with online for so long, and it was just as awesome to get to have incredibly unabashedly nerdy conversations with people that didnʻt end up getting bored with said unabashed nerdiness. Topics included the difference between astrophysics and planetary geology, when the best time to visit the Mojave is, how close we all live to various active faults, fuzzy animals, beer, and the usefulness of Twitter and blogs in conveying geogeekery across the internet and world. Iʻm hoping thereʻll be events like this one at future conferences! (Or, if thereʻs another one in San Francisco not during a conference, it gives me another excuse to come up here again...)

Thereʻs a luncheon for geobloggers on Wednesday. How many of you will be there?


Jeremiah Osborne-Gowey said...

So how's the "blogging every day seperately while at AGU09 working out for ya?!" ;) Seriously, though, that's a pretty ambitious endeavor. I'm shooting a bit lower and aiming to write ONE short-ish blog post compilation of my experience at AGU09. But I'll link it to yours as I just love your geotweetup description. Too funny...but good times.

On another note, you've gotta get the RSS feed button up on your blogspot site. You know, make it easier for followers to "follow" you.

It was great meeting you at the geotweetup. Look forward to more geo-encounters!

Best Fishes,

Jeremiah Osborne-Gowey said...

Oh. Silly me. I found the RSS feed follow button. I just hadn't realized Google had changed it to the top of the bar and no longer an icon but a "Follow" text link, instead...