So, guess where I am.

Yeah, in the library. Not exactly hard to guess given the title of this entry. I’m making this one as a break from writing my dissertation, which is going okay, I think. I have to hand it in, in two weeks and it’s nowhere near ready, but I should be ready by the time it comes to hand in, and then I just have to do another 3000 words essay. And a presentation on my dissertation. And yes, I know that 3000 words is not a lot to some of you artsy student types out there, but I’m a freaking scientist, and a half-computer one at that. I am not used to writing essays and now I have to do two in a term. Two big ones. It’s weird and I’m not used to it. And I still have to look up how to do references.

Extract of current work: He presents an improved empirical method for the plotting of field data and the calculation of tephra fall volumes, replacing the widely used plots of ln(thickness) against ln(isopach area), which are curved, suggesting exponential thinning of the deposits, with his plot of ln(thickness)-(area)1/2 which provide straight line segments, proving the exponential thinning relationship. He also introduces a new value of Bt – the thickness half distance (the distance over which the thickness of the tephra deposit will halve.) Pyle (1989)

My dissertation is on volcanoes, particularly the model that was developed by the aforementioned Pyle which calculates the volume of tephra (tephra: anything that has erupted out of a volcano during an eruption, ash, rocks, ect.) as a function of isopach area (basically the distance away from the vent). I’m checking to see if the model still holds true for very recent eruptions (the basic answer is yes, but I need ~6000 words, so yes just doesn’t cut it).

My other essay is another free choice essay (I both like and dislike free choice essay. They are good because it means I can do something that I am interested in, but bad because I’m not all that good at coming up with titles for essays) but I’ve chosen to do one of the fairly standard topics: When did life originate on Earth. This is for the module Earth and Life, which is basically looking at Earth’s entire history and how life has evolved on it. This essay is interesting because the answer is we don’t know, but there are so many interesting possibilities. One of the reasons we can’t really tell is because fossils are only found in sedimentary rocks, and all of the really old sedimentary rocks from the time we need to look at have been destroyed through metamorphism or melting, so we have no records. Another thing is that around 3.9 Billion years ago, the earth went through a period called the Late Heavy Bombardment, where earth was pelted with meteors for a long time (we’re not quite sure how long that was either, but it’s though to be around 4.1 – 3.8 million years that this happened) and one of the questions is that if life was on earth before that time, did it survive that period? Or has life only been around since after the LHB? Normally life only like temperatures of 30 degrees, or there about, but we have found a bacteria called Hyperthemophiles which can survive at temperatures of 80 degrees and higher, which would have been necessary as the earth’s surface during the time of the LHB would have been fairly molten, hot and generally not a nice place.

Oops, I rambled a bit there, but I think it’s interesting. Hope everyone else is doing alright with their work and things. I keep having these mild panic attacks when I realise how close to the end of term, and therefore the end of my student life it is getting to. Four more weeks of teachings, two exams and then graduation. I need to find myself a job for when I graduate!