Predicting the Big One
Customer: Scripps Institution of Oceanography
California scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography are developing a cutting-edge, deep-ocean seismic system that will give them more information about earthquakes and tsunamis across the globe.
Funded by a $1M NSF grant, the team from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography along with Liquid Robotics engineers will develop a potentially transformative system for deploying seafloor seismometers, which will gather vital data – in real-time – for applications ranging from earthquake monitoring, to earth structure and dynamics modeling, to tsunami warning systems.
“When you have a large earthquake, it’s important to quickly estimate the parameters of where it was and how big the seafloor displacement was. In order to do this, you need improved coverage in the ocean.”
- John Orcutt, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
According to the team leader, geophysicist Jonathan Berger, there are no current deep ocean seismic systems capable of sending crucial data back to shore in real time. Right now, the systems deployed to the bottom of the ocean record data for several months before being retrieved for analysis and study. To determine the epicenter of an earthquake, its size and whether or not a tsunami is being generated, Berger says data must be available in real time to be useful.
Wave Gliders serve as communication gateways for transmitting live seismic data from the seafloor to the ocean surface to shore via satellite.
How We Helped
The Wave Glider is an example of the new cutting-edge technology being utilized. It will tow an ocean bottom seismic device to a pre-determined location to be deployed, free floating down to its operating location. The Wave Glider will circle around above the seismic device on the ocean’s surface, receiving data transmitted via an acoustic modem. The Wave Glider will transmit the data it receives to a shore station via satellite.
The data will be integrated into the global seismographic network of broadband and very long period seismometers called “Project IDA” (International Deployment of Accelerometers).
The data coordinated through this system has helped scientists better understand earthquakes and Earth’s interior structure for decades.