Holly Rotman (MS Geology, 2010)

Seismic Processing Technician in Socorro, New Mexico

In January 2015, I completed my Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Science with specialty in Geophysics here at New Mexico Tech. After that, I spent a couple of months helping out the department here during a busy time (story available in exchange for a Vinman's brownie).

In early April, I started short-term work looking for eruptions in the seismic and infrasound data from the Mount Erebus (Antarctica) network. Examining hour after hour of records in the form of squiggles on the screen may sound boring (and sometimes it is), but it's more than worth any possible boredom whenever I find an eruption, and I've found quite a few in 2015! Erebus produces Strombolian-style bubble bursts from a lava lake in its main summit crater, and occasionally goes through periods of increased eruptive activity, with the lake present even during quiet times. Compiling and analyzing eruption catalogs for Erebus will help us understand what the volcano's plumbing system is doing, looking at data coming in from Antarctica is awesome, and volcanoes are great! I'll be pretty sad when that job finishes.

During my spare time, I'm also getting parts of my dissertation through the publication process. The manuscripts from those projects examine the source parameters of small earthquakes offshore Costa Rica in the Middle America subduction zone, and assess source parameter differences in regions that produce different types of earthquakes, including slow earthquakes and tremor. Some of the results may turn out to have interesting implications for hazard assessment if there are enough small earthquakes to work with, which is an exciting possibility!

My Erebus job finishes in December and I'm not certain what I'll be doing after that, but it feels really satisfying to have the doctorate done after having wanted it for so long. I hope to find a job (or jobs) in 2016 and beyond that allow me to keep doing research at least part of the time, since I'm most happy when I'm discovering something (or think I may be in the process of discovering something).

I still have very fond memories of my time at CWU and miss the department and Ellensburg--no surprise to the various faculty and students who have occasionally seen me suddenly appear for a few days. :)

UPDATE: Hello from Antarctica!

Information last updated on Jan 2, 2017