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A deep-sea observatory experiment using acoustic extensometers: precise horizontal distance measurements across a mid-ocean ridge

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2 Author(s)
W. W. Chadwick Jr ; Hatfield Marine Sci. Center, Oregon State Univ./NOAA, Newport, OR, USA ; M. Stapp

In July 2000, an array of instruments called acoustic extensometers was deployed at the Cleft segment of the southern Juan de Fuca Ridge, a seafloor observatory site selected by the National Science Foundation RIDGE Program. These instruments are designed to precisely measure horizontal deformation across the axis of a mid-ocean ridge in order to detect and quantify seafloor spreading events. The instruments were deployed in semipermanent seafloor benchmarks in a linear array that is 1.2-km long and spans the floor of the axial valley. The instruments make daily measurements of distance to their neighbors in the array by recording the round trip travel time of 100-kHz acoustic pulses, and simultaneous temperature measurements are used to correct the ranges for sound speed variations. The instruments are expected to have lifetimes of at least five years. In addition, precise pressure measurements have been made at each benchmark with a remotely operated vehicle in order to monitor for vertical deformation across the array. Preliminary results show that the resolution of the acoustic measurements is ±1-2 cm and that no abrupt deformation events occurred during the first year

Published in:

IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering  (Volume:27 ,  Issue: 2 )