November 10, 2006

MBARI creates new observatory 3,500 meters below the ocean surface

Scientists can now view live data from these instruments 3,500 meters below the ocean surface.

Scientists can now view live data from these instruments 3,500 meters below the ocean surface.

On November 6, 2006, MBARI engineers put the finishing touches on an amazing array of instruments that can collect data 3,500 meters (11,500 feet) below the ocean surface and send that data to scientists on shore in real time. In development since 2002, the MOOS Shepard Meander experiment was designed to help find out how sediment and organic material reaches the deep sea. Over the last year, MBARI researchers installed more than 40 different scientific instruments on the flanks and in the main channel on Monterey Canyon to compare the sediment arriving in these two areas. Data from these instruments is sent to the surface through a cable that also serves as the mooring line for the surface buoy. The surface buoy relays data to shore and generates electricity (using a wind generator and solar panels) that is sent down the cable to power the instruments below. This complex project involved several major ground-breaking engineering achievements in designing the seafloor-to-surface cable and laying scientific cables on the deep-sea floor.

For additional information or images relating to this article, please contact: Kim Fulton-Bennett
831-775-1835, kfb@mbari.org