Q&A with Paris Smalls

What is your role in the HDYLAKE project?

I am a first year PhD student in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program and I will be studying background seismic activity on the Yellow Stone lake floor. Currently my job is to assist Tim Kane from the WHOI OBS group in deploying and recovering the seismic instruments deployed on the lake. The data from these instruments will be the basis for one of the research projects required for the completion of my PhD.

Paris Smalls

Paris Smalls

What do you find unique and interesting about Yellowstone National Park?

There is a large magma chamber beneath our study area that has led to the creation of many interesting hydrothermal systems. I enjoyed going on hikes and seeing hydrothermal pools and small geysers casually appear in my view. Hiking around the caldera is definitely a unique experience that I recommend for anybody traveling to the park in the future.

What new things do you hope to learn over the course of the project?

There were a lot of really cool instruments deployed on the lake this summer. During the trip we deployed thermal blankets, PTGs, two OBSs, and an AUV. I hope to learn more about the mechanics behind these instruments so that in the future I have a better understanding of how the data I am analyzing was collected.

How did you become interested in your field of study?

Geophysics is a rare major in the Southeast, so to recruit people into the field many schools offer in-state tuition rates to out of state students. I went into the University of South Carolina as an out of state collegiate athlete on a partial scholarship, and given my math background from high school, it was suggested to me that I major in Geophysics to help finance my studies. I had no idea going in that obtaining a Geophysics degree would be this rewarding. Sometimes you just get lucky 😉

What do you like to do in your free?

I’ve recently taken up fishing as a weekend hobby. This past weekend a couple of friends and I took a ferry out past Martha’s Vineyard for a morning fishing trip. About 20 of the fish we caught were edible fish so we hosted a large fish fry!