National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 2012

Hydroacoustic monitoring of oceanic spreading centers: Past, present, and future

Dziak, R.P., D.R. Bohnenstiehl, and D.K. Smith

Oceanography, 25(1), 116–127, doi: 10.5670/oceanog.2012.10 (2012)

Mid-ocean ridge volcanism and extensional faulting are the fundamental processes that lead to the creation and rifting of oceanic crust, yet these events go largely undetected in the deep ocean. Currently, the only means available to observe seafloor-spreading events in real time is via the remote detection of the seismicity generated during faulting or intrusion of magma into brittle oceanic crust. Hydrophones moored in the ocean provide an effective means for detecting these small-magnitude earthquakes, and the use of this technology during the last two decades has facilitated the real-time detection of mid-ocean ridge seafloor eruptions and confirmation of subseafloor microbial ecosystems. As technology evolves and mid-ocean ridge studies move into a new era, we anticipate an expanding network of seismo-acoustic sensors integrated into seafloor fiber-optic cabled observatories, satellite-telemetered surface buoys, and autonomous vehicle platforms.

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