J. W. Daniels, MSc

One of Dr. Neish's new "friends."

Hello, World!

My new blog is up and ready to go….  I just need to get it linked to “Neish & friends”!

*update*  It’s been linked!



Featured post

Not much of an update….

Been busy marking essays….

Also, Reading Week last week!

Also, I’ve been composing a draft of my Thesis’ introduction.


My spiceinit-ing is finished for my unnamed craters still requiring MDIS swatches, though.  Very soon, I’ll have completed QGIS files for these ten-or-so craters and I can then update my figures in Excel.

A real update should be forthcoming in due time, with pretty pictures and everything.


Spiceinit Wolf

Bad “Spice and Wolf” pun….

Not much to report this week…; I’ve been getting myself back into the hang of using the mdis2isis >> spiceinit >> mdiscal >> cam2map procedure I used back last summertime, now for craters I missed over the summer as well as those that I didn’t bother downloading MDIS-NAC from the MODE the first time around (because I figured the MDIS mosaics of those craters from USGS sufficiently showed the melt deposits).

It’s not a very difficult procedure, but it’s sure time-consuming!  I hope to get these new files QGIS-ready by March.

I’ve also been working on an abstract for the Mercury Conference, which is due in a week’s time.  Fun, trying to condense a 2-page LPSC abstract into 1 page!

Finally, I now have a rough timeline for writing up my thesis itself.  Introduction draft due March 1st!  As such, I’ve started donating some time towards reading through the literature I’ve acquired the past year again…and again.

~Aside:  My laptop crashed during Falcon Heavy launch today…, just like its core, apparently!  Whatever happened to this core, anyway?


Aside — fairly geologist-friendly anime.

Image result for land of the lustrous

This is for aspiring geoscientists who also watch the occasional anime:  Watch Land of the Lustrous (Houseki no Kuni) and name as many of the twenty-something “Gems” as you can — before the show names them for you!

You can begin with the main character, shown above….


Update: An abstract + good figures.

LPSC 2018 is coming in March, which I am planning on attending regardless of whether my submitted abstract gets accepted or not.  Looking forward to it, either way!

My crater catalog has been scrutinized and four craters so far have been cut from the roster for not having good MDIS or altimetry data available.  Ten more are being “pulled aside” for the sake of needing more MDIS-NAC swatches to better pick out the impact melts.  22 are ready to go, and from these I have produced the following figures comparing Mercury to Venus and the Moon:

Figures for Mercury Venus and Moon
The take-away here is that Mercury’s craters trend more like Venus than the Moon, implying a gravity threshold between the Moon and Mercury exists where melt emplacement starts to be governed by impact direction over RCL….  “R” = (rim max – rim min)/(avg depth) is a measure of crater topographic variation.  Lunar and Venusian data courtesy of Dr. Neish.

Once the final ten craters are fully set-up in QGIS, a “second cut” may be taken if need be.  I hope to have a final catalog, that I’ll be using for my thesis write-up, ready by March at the latest (again, if all goes well and ISIS3 and what-not behave).

How do they look?

I’ve completed all the statistical analyses possible through QGIS, so now all that’s left to do is calculate errors and display it all in some pretty little plots.

In the meantime, I’m going to follow some advice given by Dr. Tornabene and take a step back and decide which craters are worth keeping for good and which ones I should just discard for good.  Below are my crater files, for looking through; theoretically, those worth keeping will be ones with an obvious melt deposit (or if equally-sized deposits are equidistant from the RCL), with an obvious RCL, with good and reliable MDIS and topography imagery, and with good and reliable stats produced from QGIS.

From my initial look-through of these craters, all things considered, it looks to me like my catalog will shrink from its maximum of 36 to a not-so-impressive 20-or-so craters that meet the considerations well enough to be kept for further use.  Still more than the 15-or-so venusian craters looked at in the Neish et al. (2017) paper, though!


All craters digitized… and re-digitized!

In preparation of conducting the mathematical analyses of my mercurian craters, I have completed the GIS files of all 36 of these craters including the two or three that have less-than-optimal data files associated with them.  All MDIS, MLA/USGS, and contour, rim, floor, and melt files exist for each cataloged crater.

All was going well until I attempted to begin performing statistical analyses on these completed craters, and the statistical functions in QGIS wouldn’t spit out any numbers — or anything for that matter.  As it turned out, the floor and rim shapefiles I created first time around had the incorrect coordinate system attached to them; so, while the shapefiles were drawn properly over their respective craters the coordinate system still believed those shapefiles were far elsewhere with respect to the craters they were supposed to be related to.  Thus, I had to redraw the floor and rim shapefiles for nearly all 36 of the craters according to the correct coordinate system.

With the GIS files in the proper coordinate system, it appears from my initial run of stat-analyses on Abedin crater that numbers are being spat out as expected — the “qProf” and “zonal statistics” tools differ in the mean, std-dev, etc…, values they spit out, compared to each other, however.  “qProf”, used for the rim, uses the raw elevation values, while “zonal statistics”, used for the floor, subtracts those elevation values from the radius of Mercury before it goes ahead and calculates the statistical values.  Regardless, I can now statistically analyze the craters and from there prepare the final two plots that will take a similar form to Figures 4 and 7 of Neish et al. (2017).


Back at it again.

Seven more craters have been plotted in my ongoing illustration of Mercurian crater melts vs RCL.  Not only that, but I also managed to create a melts-vs-rays illustration using the five (yes…only five of my 36 craters show the asymmetric ray pattern that allows me to estimate direction of impact) rayed craters at my disposal.

Moon vs Venus vs Mercury (updated -- melts + rays)

Both Mercury plots follow the same trend, where the highest crater population lies “Within 45*”, more reflecting of the Moon; the second-highest population lies “>90*”, which is more in line with Venus.

It seems to me that topography is less important for Mercury than it is for the Moon, likely because of Mercury’s higher gravity; on the other hand, Mercury’s topography is comparable to the Moon’s and so becomes more important than for Venus.  Because Mercury’s plot resembles more Venus’ than the Moon’s, it implies gravity is likely to be more important in melt emplacement for sufficiently large solid bodies than topography is likely to be; Perhaps, for solid bodies with lower gravity fields topography is indeed the more important factor.  Perhaps, a transition exists at around 20-40% Earth’s gravity where topography and gravity become equally important (where one factor is transitioning in importance into the other).

I recently participated in a week-long field course at Sudbury, ON., taking a good look at one of Earth’s largest and oldest impact craters — the Sudbury Basin.  As a result, I haven’t been able to work on my Thesis terribly much the past month or so.  With one more important assignment due for that course a month from now, I suspect I will continue not being able to work as much as I’d like on my Thesis until December.

I have 31 craters I can start calculating ratios and what-not on, so I should still be able to complete virtually all that by Christmas.  That’s my hope, anyway!


Burning Bright

Image result for star guardian quotes

After nearly two decades of performing admirably, the Cassini spacecraft, nearly out of fuel, made one last service to Science by plunging into Saturn’s atmosphere sending its final stream of data back to Earth before burning up and thereby becoming a part of the planet it spent so many years getting to know.

Cassini officially burnt up yesterday, and for me such an act brought up this emotional scene from Haifuri — I imagine the great myriad of people who gave a fair share of their respective lives to the craft and its mission felt, more or less, like this:

The data Cassini collected over ~15 years about Saturn has doubtless been indefinitely valuable for the research of so many scientists and researchers.  Even among my own office-mates, Cassini data has proved vital to respective thesis work:

>Alyssa’s work on Titan:

>Josh’s work on Titan:

This is the ultimate legacy of Cassini:  Shedding light on the Saturnian system for scientists and researchers for decades to come.  Before Cassini, nobody knew what Titan’s surface looked like nor what its environment was like.  Before Cassini, nobody knew how dynamic Enceladus was (particularly its south pole).  Before Cassini, detailed imagery — and eventually maps — of Saturn and its moons were largely the stuff of dreams.  In many ways, Cassini was the Hubble of Saturn.

Image result for cassini photosImage result for cassini photosRelated imageImage result for cassini photosImage result for cassini photosRelated imageRelated imageImage result for cassini photos

The above is just a couple snowflakes on the tip of the iceberg that is the entirety of the Cassini data and imagery collected during its mission, a mere couple minutes’ browsing through Google Images selecting some highlights.

Twenty years ago now, Cassini took off from Earth.  I was only eight years old at the time.  While Cassini may no longer be with us, thankfully many other probes and rovers are; of course, Science is a never-ending quest for knowledge and as such ever more space missions are being planned and carried out by space agencies worldwide.

The famous Dylan Thomas poem about growing old and dying has been passed about a lot the past couple days concerning the craft and its illustrious life, but for me, because I sometimes play League of Legends, it seemed fitting of a Star Guardian who is meant to shine bright yet fated to perish even more-so.  In the end, I think both analogies are equally fitting….

Speaking of awesome planetary missions that have ended, I still have some MESSENGER imagery to work with and some craters to finish up cataloging for my own thesis project.  I’ll definitely have an update once it’s all done!


Aat Laaaaaaassst!!

After a month of failure to get Isis3 to properly render the MDIS-NAC files I downloaded from the MODE, success has, ultimately, been mine.  Ailey crater, which sorely needed these high-resolution images because of a pesky shadow in the MDIS Global Mosaic that occluded the majority of the crater’s rim, floor, and melt deposit, can now be deemed “completed” in terms of its GIS file and now it can be analyzed for its melt emplacement-to-rim low characteristics similar to what has been accomplished already for 24 of my catalog’s “best” crater candidates.  Alongside Ailey, around ten other craters, the majority of which need the high-resolution imagery to accurately locate their respective impact melt deposits, will also shortly be similarly analyzed and subsequently “finished off.”

Here’s what Ailey crater’s GIS file looks like now:

The next order of business is to summarize all 36 craters into the illustration pictured in my last post (A Mercurian “Hybrid Theory”?), and then do something similar for the craters in my catalog that are rayed.

All in due time….


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