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Sensors 2012, 12(3), 3693-3719; doi:10.3390/s120303693

Ocean Bottom Seismometer: Design and Test of a Measurement System for Marine Seismology

SARTI Group, Electronics Department, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, UPC.Vilanova i la Geltrú 08800, Spain
Carrack Measurement Technology, Dullingham, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 9UP, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 February 2012 / Accepted: 12 March 2012 / Published: 19 March 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Underwater Sensor Nodes and Underwater Sensor Networks)


The Ocean Bottom Seismometer (OBS) is a key instrument for the geophysical study of sea sub-bottom layers. At present, more reliable autonomous instruments capable of recording underwater for long periods of time and therefore handling large data storage are needed. This paper presents a new Ocean Bottom Seismometer designed to be used in long duration seismic surveys. Power consumption and noise level of the acquisition system are the key points to optimize the autonomy and the data quality. To achieve our goals, a new low power data logger with high resolution and Signal–to-Noise Ratio (SNR) based on Compact Flash memory card is designed to enable continuous data acquisition. The equipment represents the achievement of joint work from different scientific and technological disciplines as electronics, mechanics, acoustics, communications, information technology, marine geophysics, etc. This easy to handle and sophisticated equipment allows the recording of useful controlled source and passive seismic data, as well as other time varying data, with multiple applications in marine environment research. We have been working on a series of prototypes for ten years to improve many of the aspects that make the equipment easy to handle and useful to work in deep-water areas. Ocean Bottom Seismometers (OBS) have received growing attention from the geoscience community during the last forty years. OBS sensors recording motion of the ocean floor hold key information in order to study offshore seismicity and to explore the Earth’s crust. In a seismic survey, a series of OBSs are placed on the seabed of the area under study, where they record either natural seismic activity or acoustic signals generated by compressed air-guns on the ocean surface. The resulting data sets are subsequently used to model both the earthquake locations and the crustal structure. View Full-Text
Keywords: ocean bottom seismometer; geophone; sensor modeling; refraction seismicity; clock synchronization; precision time protocol ocean bottom seismometer; geophone; sensor modeling; refraction seismicity; clock synchronization; precision time protocol

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Mànuel, A.; Roset, X.; Rio, J.D.; Toma, D.M.; Carreras, N.; Panahi, S.S.; Garcia-Benadí, A.; Owen, T.; Cadena, J. Ocean Bottom Seismometer: Design and Test of a Measurement System for Marine Seismology. Sensors 2012, 12, 3693-3719.

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