What is your role in the HDYLAKE project?
My role in this project is to help characterize the thermal regime of the Deep Hole region, which is a lake-bottom system of hydrothermal vents just east of Stevenson Island in Yellowstone Lake. We are deploying lake-bottom heatflow-measuring ‘blankets’ and are also measuring the thermal conductivity of the lake sediments for the development of thermal models.
What do you find unique and interesting about Yellowstone National Park?
Yellowstone’s geologic processes, especially geothermal, demonstrate that Earth is a still a geologically dynamic planet. Yellowstone has the effect of removing myself and others out of our mundane cultural setting, and placing us instead into the heaving and boiling third planet that has been built from the interiors of exploded stars. I am reminded here that the book of Earth history is long and many paged, and within it our story is so far just a thin page.
What new things do you hope to learn over the course of the project?
In the same way that a person’s behavior reveals the inner workings of their psyche, the surficial geologic manifestations at Yellowstone are revealing of the deeper driving tectonic processes that have been at work for millions of years. By studying surface heatflow and its correlation with seismic, pressure, bathymetric, and temperature data, we can draw conclusions about underlying Earth processes such as magma chamber properties, fluid flow regime, porosity distribution, and stress field.
How did you become interested in your field of study?
I was interested as a kid in being a military pilot and went to college to prepare myself for officership. After a couple weeks within college I found myself on a sunny day standing next to a garden within my school. I looked around at students and instructors and was impressed by the interest they had in bettering their selves and building an interesting and meaningful view of the world. Then I realized the absolute absurdity of any military role and went on to study the Earth that I was standing on.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Free time is difficult to find for a person undertaking a life of responsibility. Generally I find enjoyment in time spent with my family, composing music, playing sitar and guitar, pursuing handicrafts, developing a card game, fixing the house and car, killing poison oak, buying better clothes, trapping pest mice…