Ocean Bottom Seismology

Our Ocean Bottom Seismology (OBS) Laboratory develops and operates cutting-edge instrumentation for measuring deformation of the ocean floor in a variety of experimental settings.  One of our primary efforts is to operate a component of the National Science Foundation's OBS Instrumentation Pool (OBSIP), in cooperation with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The Lamont OBSIP facility supplies the national and international scientific community with unique broadband ocean bottom seismometers capable of very long deployments at sea.  These complex instruments must be able to drop to the seafloor, record earthquakes for a year and then return to the surface on command.  The recorded data is used to study structures and processes deep within the Earth’s crust and mantle, including seafloor earthquakes and faulting, convective and hydrothermal processes, the fate of subducting slabs, Earth's hotspots (of which Hawaii and Iceland are the best examples), and the supply of magma to form the oceanic crust beneath ridge crests. In addition, Lamont scientists and engineers continue to develop the next generation of instrumentation, including increased-sensitivity sensors designed to detect and measure long-duration seafloor deformation associated with wave pressure and tectonic forces, as well as small, inexpensive recording devices designed to be deployed in large numbers for active-source marine seismic experiments.