Geophysics in Alaska 2016

Two SMU graduate student researchers, with SMU Professor of Geophysics Matthew Hornbach, traveled to the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska, to participate in a research project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) to chart heat flow and chirp data on the ocean floor. This research project team, which includes two geophysicists from Oregon State University: Dr. Robert Harris and SMU alumnus Dr. Ben Phrampus ’15, is working aboard the Norseman II research vessel.

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Layover in Anchorage

Madeline Jones is an SMU graduate student studying geophysics:

Thursday, Sept. 8

Hello from Flattop Mountain in Anchorage, Alaska!


We are on day 3 of our Arctic research journey to collect heat flow and chirp seismic data in the Beaufort Sea. Here are the scientists (minus me): Dr. Matt Hornbach (SMU), Dr. Rob Harris (OSU), Casey Brokaw (Master’s student, SMU) and Ben Phrampus (Postdoc, OSU).

We’re currently hanging out in Anchorage, Alaska, until the weather and seas calm down a bit at our dock site in Wainwright, Alaska. The flight to Wainwright was supposed to take place this morning but fog, wind and rough seas expected to last through tomorrow have postponed the last leg of our trip an extra day.

So…what do you do when you can’t board your ship? Hike! We hiked up Flattop Mountain taking in the sights of Cook Inlet and enjoying the cool weather, which has been a nice break from the long and very hot Texas summer.

We are excited and anxious to board the Norseman II tomorrow for 10 full days at sea. Hoping for calmer, clearer weather and for a smooth transition onto the boat. You can track the Norseman II here:

More updates to come… Wish us luck!

Casey Brokaw, Madie Jones, Ben Phrampus

Casey Brokaw, Madie Jones, Ben Phrampus


This post originally appeared on the SMU Geothermal Laboratory blog.

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