FAQ: Frequently asked questions


Who can apply for lending the OBS?

Researchers from German universities or research institutions are eligible to apply. Researchers from foreign institutes need a German cooperation partner. Commercial users should contact the pool directly.

Why is a German project partner needed?

Some formalities (application for an export license, export declaration) can only be done by a German legal person.

How can I apply for the lending?

The application for both onshore and offshore seismometer is possible by a PDF form. Please complete the form and send it back together with a short project summary (1-2 pages, pdf-file). The summary should include a description of the scientific objectives, a station map, a time schedule and information about funding and ship time. Commercial users should contact the pool directly.

What happens after the application?

Your request will be evaluated by the external steering board and the internal advisory board. The final decision will be made by the GFZ executive board (onshore stations) or the AWI directorate (OBS).

Which deadlines have to be met?

The steering committee meets twice a year, the meeting dates and application deadlines are announced on the page "application". Generally, an OBS experiment needs a lead time of at least six months after granting. Early application supports our planning.


Is there are lending fee?

The usage of DEPAS OBS is free of charge for scientific purposes. Commercial users please ask for an individual offer.

Which expenses incur?

There will incur expenses for mobilisation/demobilisation, technician, transports, insurance and consumables (anchors, batteries). An estimation of costs is listed on the page "costs".

What means mobilisation/demobilisation?

Mobilisation, i.e. the preparation of the OBS, includes amongst others the assorting of the components, tests, loading of the containers and the compilation of lists. Demobilisation, i.e. the follow-up, includes amongst others maintenance, tests and storage of the components. This service is subject to a fee and has to be ordered at AWI.

Who prepares the OBS onboard?

The OBS have to be prepared onboard by trained technical staff. If there is no own personnel available, this service has to be ordered at AWI or at an external company.

Have the OBS to be insured?

Yes, the OBS have to be insured against loss and damage during transport.


Which ship is suitable?

The suitability of a vessel depends on the number of OBS and the weather conditions in the research area. A crane is necessary for deployment and recovery. A winch is needed to perform a test of the release units. A dry lab or another sheltered place  must be provided for the preparation of electronic parts.

How much ship time is needed?

It is necessary to test the realease units before mounting the OBS. The duration of the test, mostly a couple of hours, depends on the number of OBS and the water depth. Each OBS needs approx. half an hour for deployment. For recovery of the instruments, we calculate one hour per OBS plus rising time (approx. 1.2 m/s * water_depth).

How will the OBS be transported?

An OBS long-term deployment needs several transports. Before deployment, the OBS and the auxiliary equipment will be sent in standard 20' containers. Each container can take hold of 12 OBS and the auxiliary equipment. After deployment, the auxiliary equipment and empty boxes have to be sent back, either in a container or as packaged goods. Before the second cruise to recover the OBS, the auxiliary equipment has to be shipped to the port, the OBS will be sent back in containers to AWI after the cruise.

Which formalities are necessary?

The hydrophones of the OBS are dual use and need an export license. Therfore, one of the German project partners has to apply for an export license at the German "Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Controls" (BAFA) well in advance (i.e. several month) before the export. The export declaration and all other custom related formalities have to be organised by the borrowing institution or the German project partner. The transport company can also be charged for this.

What has to be done after an expedition?

A copy of the protocols and a short report have to be sent to DEPAS after each cruise.


What is the format of the data?

The data logger record in an internal format. After downloading, the data will be converted into the mini-seed format.

Will the data be archived?

DEPAS raw data is archived in the PANGAEA data base. Mini-seed data is archived in the GEOFON repository. The user needs to apply for a FDSN netwerk code to archive the data. Commercial data will be stored by the pool for quality checks only.

Is the data available for the public?

Data will be made available for the public three years after recovery of the instruments. Commercial data will be kept confidential.


How should I cite DEPAS?

This publication describes DEPAS:

Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung et al., 2017: DEPAS (Deutscher Geräte-Pool für amphibische Seismologie): German Instrument Pool for Amphibian Seismology, Journal of largescale research facilities, 3, A122, doi: 10.17815/jlsrf-3-165

How should I give credit to DEPAS?

Please give DEPAS credit in your publication with a sentence like this:„We thank the “German Instrument Pool for Amphibian Seismology (DEPAS)”, hosted by the Alfred Wegener Institute Bremerhaven, for providing the ocean-bottom seismometers.

What is important when publishing DEPAS data?

Please send a copy of your publication or a PDF file to the DEPAS pool.

Where can I find publications with DEPAS data?

DEPAS publications are listed on the page "Publications"