Move over Jules Verne -- scientists deploy ocean floats to peer into Earth's interior

December 06, 2019

SAN DIEGO, December 6, 2019 -- The release of more than 50 floating sensors, called Mobile Earthquake Recording in Marine Areas by Independent Divers (MERMAIDs), is increasing the number of seismic stations around the planet. Scientists will use the floating array to clarify the picture of the massive mantel plume in the lower mantel lying below the South Pacific Ocean. This effort will also establish one of the most comprehensive overviews of seismic activity across the globe.

Frederik Simons, at Princeton University, will discuss this international effort during the marine seismoacoustics session of the 178th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. The presentation will be given Friday, Dec. 6 at 9:30 a.m. in Empress Room of the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego.

"We are hunting for the deep source of mantel plumes, which bring to the surface hot volcanic material from great depth," said Simons. "What happens inside [the Earth] is all part of the plate-tectonic cycle [that gives] us energy. I see it as both as an opportunity and as a threat."

The floating array offers an advantage over traditional land-based seismic stations. The floating sensors gather data spanning many angles of Earth's interior, producing a massive CAT scanlike reading of seismic activity for the planet.

According to Simons, this effort offers insight into the buoyancy, viscosity, density and temperature of the deep mantel plume as deep as 700 kilometers below Earth's surface. This depth produces a potential barrier for material flowing from the lower into the upper mantel. The relayed information provides the scientific community precise measurements of the propagation speeds of seismic waves traveling through the plume.

The sensors, released in the Pacific Ocean, have a life span of five years. Each device was designed to drift passively, as well as sink to a depth of 3,000 meters. The sensors, which can relay information to scientists in near real time through a satellite link, consists of a hydrophone to capture seismic information, a GPS to annotate location accurately and a unit to digitize and process wavelet detection of the seismic activity underwater.

The array forms the backbone of the South Pacific Plume Imaging and Modeling program, an international effort managed by scientists from China, France, Japan and the United States.

Simons' presentation 5aAO4, "EarthScope-Oceans: An Array of Floating MERMAID Instruments for Earthquake Seismology," will be at 9:30 a.m. PT, Friday, Dec. 6, in the Empress room of the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego.
-end-
MORE MEETING INFORMATION

USEFUL LINKS


Main meeting website: http://acousticalsociety.org/asa-meetings/
Technical program: https://asa2019fall.abstractcentral.com/planner.jsp
Press Room: http://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/

WORLDWIDE PRESS ROOM

In the coming weeks, ASA's Worldwide Press Room will be updated with additional tips on dozens of newsworthy stories and with lay language papers, which are 300-500 word summaries of presentations written by scientists for a general audience and accompanied by photos, audio and video. You can visit the site during the meeting at http://acoustics.org/world-wide-press-room/.

PRESS REGISTRATION

We will grant free registration to credentialed journalists and professional freelance journalists. If you are a reporter and would like to attend, contact the AIP Media Line at 301-209-3090. For urgent requests, staff at media@aip.org can also help with setting up interviews and obtaining images, sound clips or background information.

LIVE MEDIA WEBCAST

Press briefings will be webcast live from the conference Tuesday, Dec. 3, in Hospitality Suite 3103 of the Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. Register at https://webcast.aipwebcasting.com/go/asa-dec3-19 to watch the live webcast. The schedule will be posted at the same site as soon as it is available.

ABOUT THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA

The Acoustical Society of America (ASA) is the premier international scientific society in acoustics devoted to the science and technology of sound. Its 7,000 members worldwide represent a broad spectrum of the study of acoustics. ASA publications include The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (the world's leading journal on acoustics), Acoustics Today magazine, books, and standards on acoustics. The society also holds two major scientific meetings each year. For more information about ASA, visit our website at http://www.acousticalsociety.org.

Acoustical Society of America

Related Seismic Activity Articles from Brightsurf:

Seismic data explains continental collision beneath Tibet
New imagery reveals the causes of seismic activity deep beneath the Himalaya region, contributing to an ongoing debate over the continental collision process when two tectonic plates crash into each other.

Proposed seismic surveys in Arctic Refuge likely to cause lasting damage
Winter vehicle travel can cause long-lasting damage to the tundra, according to a new paper by University of Alaska Fairbanks researchers.

New technique separates industrial noise from natural seismic signals
For the first time, seismologists can characterize signals as a result of some industrial human activity on a continent-wide scale using cloud computing.

Fiber optics capture seismic signatures of the rose parade
Interesting signatures of the Rose Parade were captured by fiber optic telecommunications cable lying below the parade route.

'Fossil earthquakes' offer new insight into seismic activity deep below earth's surface
A study led by the University of Plymouth, published in Nature Communications, has shed new light on the mechanisms through which earthquakes are triggered up to 40km beneath the earth's surface

Submarine cables: billions of potential seismic sensors!
Scientists have for the first time shown that it is possible to detect the propagation of seismic waves on the seafloor using submarine telecommunications cables.

Underwater telecom cables make superb seismic network
Photonic systems can transform underwater fiber-optic cables into a dense network of seismic stations to illuminate ocean-floor earthquake zones impossible to study today, according to a new study by researchers from UC Berkeley, Berkeley Lab and Rice University.

Strong storms can generate earthquake-like seismic activity
Researchers have discovered a new geophysical phenomenon where a hurricane or other strong storm can produce vibrations in the nearby ocean floor as strong as a magnitude 3.5 earthquake.

FSU research: Strong storms generating earthquake-like seismic activity
A Florida State University researcher has uncovered a new geophysical phenomenon where a hurricane or other strong storm can spark seismic events in the nearby ocean as strong as a 3.5 magnitude earthquake.

North American seismic networks can contribute to nuclear security
In a paper published as part of an upcoming focus section on regional seismic networks in Seismological Research Letters, University of Utah seismologist Keith Koper explains how the work of regional seismic networks in North America is contributing to nuclear test monitoring, particularly in the case of low-yield explosions.

Read More: Seismic Activity News and Seismic Activity Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.