Our next challenge

At the moment we are currently preparing for our next data collection visit to 13N in the Atlantic, during which we will deploy 58 instruments onto the seabed to measure man-made sound signals that propagate through the entire crust within the survey area. From these measurements we will be able to work out the density of the rocks throughout the area and, in turn, identify what they are and in what physical state they are – solid or molten. We will also be able to tell how faulted the sub-surface is and if these faults are aligned in any way. In the seismic surveying world this is called anisotropy and this characteristic of signal propagation comes in handy to earth scientists, not only for mapping faults but also looking for void spaces, if the voids are aligned or even inter-connected.

At our facility base in Durham (UK), the instruments are being prepared for shipping, which involves disassembly, a thorough cleaning and refurbishment of worn or damaged parts, reassembly and a preliminary test programming to check data recoding and power consumption, to ensure it stays within that which the on-board batteries can provide.

Next week we will be taking some newly fabricated parts to a pressure tank and testing them to a pressure equivalent of 6000m water depth, to check seals, connectors and that they do not leak!

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