Güralp Systems Ltd to supply 120 broad-band ocean bottom seismometers to National Facility for Seismic Imaging (NFSI), Canada

Güralp Systems Ltd, the leading global provider of seismic monitoring instrumentation and solutions, has been awarded a contract to supply 120 free-fall, Aquarius broad-band ocean bottom seismometer (“BBOBS”) systems and associated topside equipment to form the instrument pool of Canada’s National Facility for Seismic Imaging (“NFSI”) based at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

The Aquarius is a compact unit with a low profile that minimises flow noise on the seabed and features unique capabilities specifically suited to free-fall deployment in the deep ocean. As a result of a partnering agreement between Güralp and Sonardyne in 2019, Aquarius is equipped with Sonardyne’s 6G Wideband low-mid frequency (LMF) acoustics, making it the most compact telemetry-enabled OBS available in the market.

  • The sensor is operational at acute angles of up to ±180° without mechanical levelling
  • The on-board tri-axial, broadband seismometer has a 120s-100Hz response with a configurable long-period corner, making it ideal for instrument pools where response requirements may vary between projects  
  • The Sonardyne omnidirectional transducer enables cable-free data transfer through the water column – this is used at deployment by the OBS team to view ‘State of Health’ parameters, noise performance data and to confirm commencement of seismic recording once the system reaches the seabed. This is also compatible with a Sonardyne Gyro USBL acoustic transceiver, which can be used on a vessel of opportunity for underwater positioning during deployment and recovery
  • The recovery system once activated is supported by a satellite tracking system that locates the instrument on the sea surface for retrieval prior to data download, battery re-charge and re-deployment
  • Each of the re-usable Aquarius units will be engineered for a maximum depth of 6000m and has a battery life of at least 12 months
With this programme, the NFSI aims to rebuild Canada’s OBS capability following the end of life decommissioning of the previous Canadian short period OBS pool [in 2015]. The NFSI is a partnership of ten major universities from across Canada including Dalhousie University, University of Victoria, University of British Colombia, Simon Fraser University, University of Manitoba, University of Toronto, University of Ottawa, Université du Québec à Montréal, McGill University and Memorial University.

The BBOBS contract was awarded following a public tender process that commenced in 2019. Güralp will also supply deck units and battery chargers and will assist the NFSI in establishing a BBOBS service centre based at Dalhousie with accredited staff trained in operating and managing the Aquarius systems. Güralp will work in close cooperation with the NFSI project team, to ensure that the BBOBS pool meets the specific Instrument requirements. The expectation is that the entire pool of 120 Instruments will be completed and delivered within a two-year period.

Professor Mladen Nedimovic, NFSI Director, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Dalhousie University said:

“The NFSI is delighted to have entered into an agreement with Güralp Systems Ltd. for supply of 120 Aquarius BBOBS. We are hopeful that this large pool of state-of-the-art BBOBS will enable us to expand our international collaborations to carry out unparalleled imaging and monitoring of critically important earth structures for fundamental science discoveries and improved earthquake and tsunami mitigation.”

Phil Hill, Engineering Director, Güralp Systems commented:

“At Güralp we have more than thirty years continuous experience in designing and manufacturing for the OBS market so we are well aware of the challenges of deploying and operating instrumentation in the deep ocean. environment. The Aquarius is the beneficiary of multiple strands of our research and development strategy which have been running in parallel, including sensor technology, data management, and acoustic telemetry. This order will enable us to showcase the exceptional features of the Aquarius to a global audience and we are looking forward to working with the NFSI team on what promises to be a very exciting programme.”

Geraint West, Global Business Manager, Oceanographic, at Sonardyne, added:

"This order from NFSI represents a significant milestone in the entry of the new Aquarius OBS into the market. Sonardyne are really pleased to have supported Güralp's development of this cutting edge instrument with our extensive experience of acoustic telemetry. We look forward to supporting the establishment of this internationally important new science capability in Canada.”


Aquarius OBS during test deployment in 2019
Aquarius ocean bottom seismometer during test deployment
The NFSI 'BBOBS' laboratory
 The NFSI 'BBOBS' laboratory




Güralp ( is a leading global provider of sophisticated seismic monitoring solutions used to understand natural seismological events such as earthquakes, aftershocks and volcanos, as well as induced seismic events, or seismic signals, resulting from human activity.

Our solutions are used in research, civil and industrial applications to increase understanding, optimise processes and to protect people and the environment. Our equipment is installed in all major ocean basins and across all continents worldwide.

Our instruments range in performance from very low frequency, very low noise for global seismology to high dynamic range instruments for local, strong motion monitoring. Our sensors and can be supplied for deployment at the surface, in boreholes and on the ocean bottom. We also provide data acquisition equipment, power and communication accessories and data interpretation software.

Our services include installation and commissioning; network operation; repair and maintenance services; data processing and interpretation.

Headquartered in Reading, in the UK, we have been operating for more than 30 years and have established a global network of distributors who provide local customer support and sales services.

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