Monday, May 29, 2017

Meet some Kamchatka geoscientists

Left to right:  Dima Savelyev, Artyom Gerus, Olga Savelyeva, Anna Dolgaya,
Olga Samoylova, Natasha Gorbach, Tanya Pinegina, Olga Bergal-Kuvikas,
Olga Usacheva.  Hidden in back:  Ilya Ulybyshev, Vlad Loginov
While visiting the Institute of Volcanology & Seismology [English version link] via an award from the U.S. Fulbright Foundation, I organized (with help) a weekly meeting of "young scientists" -- I defined "young" as younger than me.  It was a group who wanted to practice conversing, listening, writing and presenting in English.  As I have always done with my classes, I asked them to write a short introduction to themselves, with something about their work, their life outside work, and a picture or two.  I am always surprised by the diversity that turns up. You might note that women predominate in this group; you can read more about women in Soviet/Russian geoscience here.

Volcanologists/petrologists
Olga Bergal-Kuvikas with two of
 her children and a diploma
 from Hokkaido University
Olga Bergal-Kuvikas.  I first met Olga in Sapporo, Japan, in 2011. She was studying and working with volcanologist Mitsuhiro Nakagawa, who also was part of our Kurils Biocomplexity Project. Olga and I lived near eachother at Hokkaido University and commonly walked home together; we also skied together.  That was before she was married, and now she has three children.  Olga has quite a bit of practice with English and volunteered for our first presentation, based on a manuscript she has prepared on a Kamchatka Miocene caldera. She is a petrologist studying volcanic ash and rocks.  To the query "Where are you from?" Olga answered, "It’s a difficult question for me, because my father is from Lithuania, my mother from Moldova. They met and married in Kazakhstan. We came to ... Kamchatka in 1998, living  in Vilyuchinsk city. At Olga's invitation, I went with her and her two older boys to see Puss in Boots.

Natasha Gorbach does field work on Shiveluch volcano,
the northernmost of Kamchatka's active volcanoes -- very active!
Natasha Gorbach.  I also have known Natasha for awhile since she is one of (my long-time colleague) Tanya Pinegina's best friends; they have known eachother since they went to university together at Kiev State University. Like Tanya, she came to Kamchatka as a cub geologist and was drawn to its wildness, beauty and volcanoes.  Natasha worked for 8 years on the Kamchatka geological survey and then joined the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology.  Natasha is a volcanologist/petrologist who works on recent and ancient volcanic products of Shiveluch volcano. This work links us because much of my field work on Kamchatka has involved Shiveluch's volcanic ash layers.  Natasha has traveled widely to share her studies and to do analytical work in other labs. This winter I helped her polish her poster for the European Geophysical Union meeting in Vienna, on the topic of recent eruptive products of Zhupanovsky volcano.


Aleksei Ragozhin with one of his scientific posters
Aleksei Ragozhin. Aleksei was born in Moldova; his parents left Moldova and flew to Kamchatka when he was very young. Aleksei's family lives in Milkovo, one of the few towns some distance from Petropavlovsk. He graduated from Kamchatka State University and started to work at IVS. He works on ancient calderas and is co-author of the aforementioned paper with Olga Bergal-Kuvikas.

Geophysical Mathematicians
Anna Dolgaya, who just
defended her Ph.D.!
Two of the most regular attendees of our group have been Anna Dolgaya and Artyom Gerus, who both work with Alexander Vasilievich Vikulin. Anna and Artyom are both natives of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy and both studied Mathematics and Informatics at Kamchatka State University.
Artyom Gerus plays base
 guitar in a rock band.
     Anna Dolgaya's research area is mathematical and statistical modeling of regularities of seismic and volcanic processes, including earthquake migration. She works with a database of catalogued earthquakes and volcanic eruptions that have occurred all over the Earth; she also is working on a broader database of global catastrophes.  Anna gave two presentations to our group.  She also announced to us at our last meeting that she had successfully defended her Ph.D. (which she kept a secret) -- congratulations!  In Anna's spare time, she likes reading and cross-stitching; she also watches U.S. TV series and recommended (to me) House of Cards, which I subsequently watched in my flat in the evenings.  One wonders how the world sees the United States if through these TV serials.
     Artyom Gerus performs geodynamical modeling. I will use his words: " [We] consider that the crust (in particular, along ... geodynamically active zones ...) consists of blocks (usually associated with earthquake focal areas) with intrinsic angular momentum which is responsible for stress propagation [along chains of blocks] ... in the form of waves that sometimes trigger earthquakes...." As pictured above, he plays base guitar in a rock band; he is also interested in sound engineering, both recording and mixing other local musicians and doing some live sound engineering.

Magnetotelluricists
Olga Samoylova
We had three young scientists from the IVS magnetotellurics -- Olga Samoyleva, who was instrumental in organizing our group, Vlad Loginov and Ilya Ulybyshev.  Magnetotellurics (MT) is a ... "method for inferring the Earth's subsurface electrical conductivity from ... measurements of natural geomagnetic and geoelectric field variation at the Earth's surface .... Proposed in Japan in the 1940s, and France and the USSR during the early 1950s, MT is now an international academic discipline and is used in exploration surveys around the world." (Wikipedia). Magnetotelluricists collect field data along profiles and then invert those data to reconstruct subsurface character and structure.
     Olga Samoyleva is working on the deep conductivity of Kamchatka's eastern coast, including the chain of active volcanoes and the subduction zone. Coastal areas are challenging because of differences in conductivity between sea water and rocks. Her hobbies are very active physically, including running, skiing, yoga and Argentine tango.
Some of the modes of Ilya Ulybyshev.
    Ilya Ulybyshev is working working in the lab of tectonics and geophysics of island arc systems at the Institute. The subject of his research is magnetotelluric sounding of Central Kamchatka, and he gave us a presentation about collecting field data both for his project and for related work.  Ilya is a man of many interests and talents, including baking ginger snaps (in the shape of a crab) for our final meeting. He is part of an amateur singing group; here is an example performance.  He has done some pottery and lately took up painting scale miniatures from sci fi and fantasy.

Geologists

Dima (Dmitry) Savelyev is a talented
geologist and photographer
   I was very excited to learn that not only were Dima Savelyev and Olga Savelyeva field geologists, but they have worked extensively on the Kamchatsky Mys Peninsula (KMP), where I have spent quite a bit of my field time and focus.  KMP is where the Aleutian chain runs into Kamchatka, where we have worked on uplifted marine terraces and on long records of tsunami deposits.  Olga is a stratigrapher (like me); Dima works more on igneous rocks, including old, accreted seafloor.  They are a working, married team, with three children.  Dima has published a photo album online and presented me with a hard copy.
Savelyev family photos

     Dima studied mineral exploration in Moscow and spent his first decade on Kamchatka conducting field and lab studies in mineral exploration, geologic mapping, hydrogeology, and other geotechnical projects. Since 2002 he has been at IVS in the petrology lab studying paleovolcanology, petrology and geodynamics, with a focus on ancient island arcs. He presented an abstract to us on the link between ancient igneous rocks on Kamchatka and Hawaiian igneous rocks – the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain runs into Kamchatka currently at the Kronotsky Peninsula.
Olga Savelyeva with rhythmically bedded Cretaceous rocks
on the Kamchatsky Mys Peninsula.  I had to pick this photo
because I love sedimentary rocks, and I have seen related beds.
     Olga Savelyeva is a geologist after my own geology heart; she studies Cretaceous sedimentary rocks -- in particular their rhythmic patterns of deposition and its relationship to global climatic and oceanic trends and events in the Cretaceous. As did Dima, Olga graduated from the Moscow Geological Prospecting Institute, and before coming to Kamchatka, she worked on a geological survey in Eastern Pamir.   In addition to her work at IVS, she teaches Paleontology, Historical Geology, Geology of Russia and other topics at the local university. She likes walking on the beach and in the forest, knitting, and growing flowers and vegetables. She likes waterfalls, rocks (!) and pine trees.


Seismologist -- last but not least!
Seismologist Anna Skorkina
     Anna Skorkina made a brief appearance in the group in midwinter and then was based in Moscow for a couple months, rejoining us in our last month and making not one but two presentations. Anna went to Perm (not Penn) State University and now is a Ph.D. candidate at the Schmidt Institute of Physics of the Earth in Moscow, while also junior researcher at IVS (EMSD) in Petropavlovsk. She also has training as a professional translator. Anna has been active in the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, which has given her travel, training and networking opportunities. Her research is focused on studying spectral properties of Kamchatka earthquakes and high-frequency radiation of the source. One of her presentations was on different earthquake magnitude scales and how to calibrate local scales with the moment magnitude (Mw) scale.
     Anna spent some time working at the Kamchatka tsunami warning center, which was developed after the Sumatra 2004 earthquake and tsunami. She offered to give us a tour, after a short presentation on the center as well as the network of tsunami warning centers in the Russian Far East. Four of us went on the tour (others had been before), where Anna demonstrated the training tools for determining whether to issue a tsunami warning after earthquake signals are received. It was cool!
Here we are -- Artyom Gerus, Anna Dolgaya, Anna Skorkina and me (plus our host)
visiting the Kamchatka tsunami warning center.  Anna S. shows us how to evaluate
whether or not an earthquake will be tsunamigenic
At our final meeting, I gave a talk about (asteroid) impact-generated tsunamis, and my new friends prepared tea and cookies. I hope we all stay in touch and that I will visit Kamchatka again and catch up on what everyone is doing. And of course I welcome any of you to visit me in Seattle!

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