Seismic Equipment: OBS Part 1

Howdy! My name is Akhil Amara. I am a masters student studying geophysics at Texas A&M. My goal will be to help you understand the equipment that will be used for part of our research expedition. Due to the extended transit time to location of the survey, it has allowed the science party, especially the first timers (like me), to get a greater understanding of the equipment being used before they are deployed. For the first part of the expedition will use the Ocean Bottom Seismometers or OBS. The pictures seen below show the OBS in the “van” (nickname for the equipment container) located on the deck of the ship.

Gail, Justin and Peter in the van (OBS container). Peter and Dan (not pictured) are from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). WHOI owns the OBS equipment shown here.
Bobby for scale!









We will drop the OBS in the water and they will sink to the bottom of the ocean where they will collect data. The OBS will sink due to a metal plate that will be attached to the system. Due to the fact that we can’t control exactly where the OBS lands, we will be employing a “pray and drop” method. Along five separate transects, we will deploy seven OBS. The OBS shown in the picture have two glass bubbles encased in the yellow casing. The data logger, motherboards, and other important pieces are encased in the top bubble of the OBS. The bottom bubble contains several batteries needed to run the system while it is on the ocean floor. When we are done acquiring the necessary data, we will send a signal that will release the OBS from the metal plate holding it down and it will float upward at approximately at 60 meters per minute. Then we will locate it floating in the ocean (by spotting the strobe light and flag on top of it) and hook it up onto the ship. I will post more updates as we deploy and collect the OBS.

Akhil Amara


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