Seismology in (sub)polar oceans

Seismology in stormy oceans

 In the stormy „Furious Fifties“ we succeeded for the first time to recover ocean bottom seismometers after a recording period of one year (expedition SWEAP of RV Polarstern).  Reliable weather and sea state forecasts and the excellent poor-weather performance of RV Polarstern allow to sucessfully work in such areas. Our records of thousands of small earthquakes originating at the Southwest Indian Ridge now provide unprecedented insight into the formation of new ocean lithosphere.

Lucky OBS recovery in snowy darkness
Getting help with OBS recovery

Seismology under sea ice

In summer 2014, we deployed for the first time an especially modified ocean bottom seismometer in 4 km water depth in the ice-covered Arctic Ocean and recovered it in more than 80% sea-ice cover (expedition AURORA of RV Polarstern). The data show that the Arctic ocean exhibits a very low noise level and therefore provides ideal recording conditions for earthquakes.

Test of the prototype ice-OBS
Deployment of OBS in thick sea ice