Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists 'Plug Into' Power And Communications Outlet On The Seafloor

Date:
September 26, 1998
Source:
National Science Foundation
Summary:
Scientists and engineers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and affiliated with the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), the University of Hawaii and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have successfully created the first permanent deep ocean seafloor observatory in the United States. The observatory will be able to observe ocean processes over periods of years.

First Permanent U.S. Deep Seafloor Observatory Installed

Scientists and engineers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and affiliated with the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), the University of Hawaii and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have successfully created the first permanent deep ocean seafloor observatory in the United States. The observatory will be able to observe ocean processes over periods of years.

By connecting a junction box to a retired telephone cable on the seafloor in the middle of the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California, the observatory is placed in 5.0 kilometers (16,400 feet) of water almost halfway between Hawaii and California. The facility rests on a relatively featureless part of the seafloor between the Murray and Molokai Fracture Zones.

"As oceanography continues to evolve from an exploratory endeavor, requiring long-term, multi-parameter measurements, the ability to make observations of ocean processes over periods of years is becoming increasingly important," says Larry Clark, program director in NSF's division of ocean sciences, which funded the project. "Recent technological advances and the 'retirement' of seafloor telecommunications cables have enabled the establishment of seafloor observatories that are connected to shore by a dedicated cable. The ability to continuously receive and record oceanographic data and communicate with scientific instruments on the seafloor promises to advance ocean science knowledge and predictive capabilities."

Named the Hawaii-2 Observatory, or H2O, the project was coordinated through the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) in Washington, D.C., under the direction of Rhett Butler, global seismic network program manager. In addition, scientist Fred Duennebier at the University of Hawaii designed the power supply and built a seismic instrumentation package that attaches to the junction box, which was designed and built at WHOI. A seismometer and a standard hydrophone are the first instruments to be installed at the site. Now that power is flowing through the cable, the instruments will immediately begin listening for seismic events such as earthquakes and tsunamis.

"It was a risky operation, but something we have wanted to do for a very long time," notes scientist Alan Chave of WHOI. "Up to now we have been limited by technology and logistics in supporting a permanent undersea geophysical observatory. Now we have the technology -- with the remotely operated vehicle Jason, the titanium junction box, and the cable providing the power and communications source to link us back to shore. The two-way digital signals carried by the cable are unique in that they allow us to 'talk to' our instruments on the seafloor, so that we can program and troubleshoot them from land."

The unique junction box and cable termination of titanium were installed by splicing into the middle of the submarine telephone cable connected to AT&T's Makaha cable station on the island of Oahu.

In the future, scientists from universities and research laboratories around the world will be able to plug instruments into the junction box (with the help of a submersible or ROV), then unplug the instrument when their experiment is complete.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Science Foundation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Science Foundation. "Scientists 'Plug Into' Power And Communications Outlet On The Seafloor." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/09/980926063307.htm>.
National Science Foundation. (1998, September 26). Scientists 'Plug Into' Power And Communications Outlet On The Seafloor. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/09/980926063307.htm
National Science Foundation. "Scientists 'Plug Into' Power And Communications Outlet On The Seafloor." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/09/980926063307.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins