New technology developed to improve forecasting of earthquakes, tsunamis

phys.org | 11/17/2014 | Staff
moemajormoemajor (Posted by) Level 3
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University of South Florida geoscientists have successfully developed and tested a new high-tech shallow water buoy that can detect the small movements and changes in the Earth's seafloor that are often a precursor to deadly natural hazards, like earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis.

The buoy, created with the assistance of an $822,000 grant from the National Science Foundation's Ocean Technology and Interdisciplinary Coordination program, was installed off Egmont Key in the Gulf of Mexico last year and has been producing data on the three-dimensional motion of the sea floor. Ultimately the system will be able to detect small changes in the stress and strain the Earth's crust, said USF School of Geosciences Distinguished Professor Tim Dixon.

Seafloor - Geodesy - System - Spar - Buoy

The patent-pending seafloor geodesy system is an anchored spar buoy topped by high precision Global Positioning System (GPS). The buoy' orientation is measured using a digital compass that provides heading, pitch, and roll information—helping to capture the crucial side-to-side motion of the Earth that can be diagnostic of major tsunami-producing earthquakes, Dixon said. He was joined in leading the project by USF Geoscience Phd student Surui Xie, Associate Professor Rocco Malservisi USF College of Marine Science's Center for Ocean Technology research faculty member Chad Lembke, and a number of USF ocean technology personnel.

Their findings were recently published in the Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth.

Techniques - Monitoring - Technology - Deeper - Ocean

While there are several techniques for seafloor monitoring currently available, that technology typically works best in the deeper ocean where there is less noise interference. Shallow coastal waters (less than a few hundred meters depth) are a more challenging environment but also an important one for many applications,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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