‘Wiring the Abyss’

Image 1: Güralp Maris Seismometer being placed in position at 2200 m depth - All images courtesy of Ocean Networks Canada/CSSF

Güralp Maris Seismometer being placed in position at 2200 m depth

Ocean Networks Canada (ONC), a University of Victoria initiative, successfully deployed a string of three cabled Güralp Maris ocean bottom seismometer (OBS) as part of the first leg of their 2018 ‘Wiring the Abyss’ expedition aboard Canadian Coast Guard Ship the 'John P. Tully'.

The deployment formed part of a two week project to install and improve instrumentation on the offshore cabled observing networks at Barkley Canyon, Cascadia Basin, Endeavour and Clayoquot Slope in the Northeast Pacific Ocean. The Güralp OBS were deployed at Endeavour, the northern segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge, a divergent boundary between the Pacific and Juan de Fuca tectonic plates. The instruments were positioned at a depth of approximately 2200 m adjacent to hydrothermal vents that have formed along the ridge, and were lifted into place using the Canadian Scientific Submersible Facility’s remotely operated vehicle for ocean science—ROPOS.

One of benefits of the Güralp Maris instrument for this type of deployment is the unique capability of the sensor to operate at any angle. This functionality allows for greater flexibility when installing the instruments in environments where precise alignment and levelling present more of a challenge.

During the deployment of the string, which took place on the 29th June and was streamed live via the ONC website, Güralp engineers were able to watch the installation as it happened, and provide advice to the scientific team on board the expedition vessel, led by ONC staff scientist, Dr. Martin Heesemann. The process of siting, connecting and testing the three seismometers and an interface unit took around five hours to complete. The data from the network will be publicly available via the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) from August.

Martin Heesemann, Staff Scientist at Ocean Networks Canada commented:

“Ocean Networks Canada’s (ONC) real-time network spans all of the dynamic and rugged tectonic regimes off Canada’s west coast capable of generating megathrust earthquakes, including the mid-ocean ridge at Endeavour, fracture zone and subduction zones at Barkley Canyon and Clayoquot Slope. Güralp has been providing world-leading technology and expertise to ONC since we began “Wiring the Abyss” in 2009.”

The incredible live footage of the installation was watched by Giorgio Mangano, Head of Ocean Systems at Güralp:

“Being able to watch the live installation video from the ROV and having direct communication with the ONC's team onboard the ship, it allowed us to provide some advice about the placement of the sensors and to help the scientists to fix simple issues during the process. Having seen how rocky and uneven the area was, we are glad to have developed the Maris, a broadband seismometer able to work at any angle without the need of gimbals. Where possible, the form factor of this sensor helps to easily bury it into the soft sediments, for best noise performances”.

A few days prior to this deployment a single, autonomous Maris seismometer was deployed, and will record activity over the period of a year before retrieval. The addition of this three-seismometer string - plus a single autonomous seismometer - will provide a dense network of instrumentation at this spreading mid-ocean ridge to help us better understand large plate scale seismic activity.

You can watch video of the expeditions deployments here https://data.oceannetworks.ca/SeaTube?resourceTypeId=1000&resourceId=1001&diveId=2551&time=2018-06-27T12:10:10.000Z

The Maris string deployment is R2086 2018-06-29 03:02:32.


Güralp has designed, built and deployed a wide range of OBS systems, you can read more about our experience in this area in our OBS brochure.

Remotely operated vehicle toolbox containing Maris Ocean Bottom Seismometer, interface unit and cabling

Image 2: ROPOS toolbox containing Maris OBS, interface unit and cabling

Image 3: Removal of single Maris OBS and interface unit from toolbox
Removal of single Maris Ocean Bottom Seismometer and interface unit from toolbox
Installed and connected Maris Ocean Bottom Seismometer and interface unit
Image 4: Installed and connected Maris OBS and interface unit



For urgent enquiries please call 020 3727 1000 and speak to Fergus Wheeler, Louisa Feltes or Jess Gill. 


Güralp (www.guralp.com) 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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