I’ve just handed in my annual plan and thesis proposal review with signatures and all. So overall i’m making good progress which is always nice to hear. I also carried out my first real experiment that lasted for about a week. The deformed olivine specimen was finally loaded into the seismic wave attenuation apparatus and all the gas leaks were fixed.

The experiment consisted of numerous runs starting at the highest temperature of 1100C and ramping down by 25C with every new set of experimental runs. Basically the first run takes 5 hours or 9 hours depending on the time of the day. A 9 hour run is more thorough. This is the forced torsional oscillation run whereby the olivine specimen gets twisted on the micrometer scale at fixed seismic frequencies. If the specimen is fully elastic, an immediate response is recorded at the displacement transducers. However, under higher temperatures there is a visco-elastic component and therefore the material exhibits a phaselag and a change in the shear modulus over longer timescales.

In addition, microcreep test runs were performed for 10,000s and later 5,000s. These tests show in more detail at what temperature olivine becomes elastic in response. They also provide a check on the creep function fitted to the data during data processing.

All in all, it was pretty intensive. Before and after each experiment run I had to do calibrations. I had to come in at 8 am, keep an eye on the experiments/start new ones and each evening I had to come in to get an overnight experiment going. So that meant staying in the lab until midnight! As a result I was a bit sad that I couldn’t stay long at a farewell party of a graduating phd student at RSES.

Anyways, I now have to way clear to process the data from this other side project i’ve been working on, on dislocation annealing kinetics in synth olivine. Then from there I can write a draft paper maybe by the end of this year but that depends on me working through the Christmas holidays.