The Rio Grande Rift appears to slowly be spreading apart, so Jenny is looking at whether there are earthquakes associated with this extension and whether these earthquakes are broadly distributed from east to west or are concentrated along normal fault zones. Her work includes poring through extensive seismic data to find events that might be actual earthquakes and to distinguish them from false detections caused by external events such as mine blasts. The goal is to build an earthquake catalog that identifies when, where, and at what depth earthquakes happened in this region.
Jenny's work has been supported by the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program and by two EarthScope projects: Crustal Deformation Measurements and a Multidisciplinary Geophysical Investigation of the Rio Grande Rift (EAR-0454541) and Rio Grande Rift II: Kinematics and Dynamics of Continental Deformation in Low Strain-Rate Environments (EAR-1053596). Principal investigators for the two EarthScope projects are Anne Sheehan, Robert Nerem, and Anthony Lowry.
Meet Jenny Nakai - 4:41
Jenny talks about her interest in engineering and science as a means to be useful and solve problems and the importance of education in the Navajo culture in general. She explains how resource extraction such as coal mining has had a negative environmental impact on the Navajo land and how, in the past, few tribal members have had the knowledge and training to deal with these problems or to educate the public about ways to solve them.