HT-RESIST survey successfully completed

We retrieved the final ocean-bottom EM receiver just in time for lunch today, in dramatic style with 20 foot waves and 35 knot winds including occasional 60 knot gusts. We faced far more troublesome storms compared with our first voyage, making for some epic nail biting recoveries but also spectacular scenery.

Our final tally for this cruise is 42 out of 42 receivers successfully recovered. Each receiver was equipped with four sensors amounting to four channels of data, and we were fortunate to get 164 channels of high quality data with two channels of intermittent data and only two channels of unusable data. All in all, this amounts to a score of yasss*41.25! Another celebration worthy result after 128 successful recoveries during the first cruise.

Stay tuned for more details on preliminary data processing results in the coming days.

Three down, 39 to go

After 26 hours of transit from Auckland port, the day team successfully recovered three receivers during our first shift. All instruments came back with 45+ days of high quality data! Hoping for “yasss*42” when all is said and done.

The weather has been well behaved so far, but we are expecting a rough patch from a nearby cyclone in the coming days. It won’t be as bad as initially forecast, knocking on wood for manageable seas.

First cruise of HT-RESIST successfully completed

After 29 days of 24 hour operations, we have finally reached the conclusion of our grand voyage at the Hikurangi subduction zone. We successfully completed all of the planned data acquisition: 170 OBEM receiver deployments and 128 recoveries, as well as 500 line-km of SUESI tows (which is 100 line-km more than we set out to collect). Only three instruments came back with no data. A marvelous achievement given the inherent difficulty of collecting data at the bottom of the ocean. One that was only possible thanks to the dedication and hard work of the science party, the marine EM lab at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the captain and crew of the R/V Revelle. I am struggling to digest the overwhelming range of emotions now that our journey has reached its end.

Onshore celebrations in Wellington await.

One of the last of the OBEM deployments
The very last anchor to be deployed

Stay tuned for more blog posts during the second, shorter (and more relaxed) voyage beginning February 21st, when we will set sail to recover the 42 OBEM receivers left behind to collect five+ weeks worth of MT data.

Preliminary look at the MT & CSEM data

In the first figure below, I have plotted the processed MT response functions from three sites on the southern line of receiver deployments. Site s03 was located on the incoming plate, s14 was near the trench axis, and s33 was on the Hikurangi fore-arc. The data show the apparent resistivity and phase of the transverse-magnetic (TM) and transverse-electric (TE) modes. The TM and TE modes represent the two geomagnetic field polarizations that induce electric currents parallel and perpendicular to the line of receivers, respectively. They have sensitivity to different electrical conductivity structures, which will become important when the data are modeled using geophysical inversion methods. Details aside, what is most important here is that the data look smooth, have reasonable error bars, and therefore are fairly high quality. The data shown here are generally representative of the quality of the processed MT for the southern line of sites (have yet to process the MT data from the other profiles).

Processed MT data from southern profile sites s03 (on the incoming Pacific plate far from the trench axis), s14 (on the incoming Pacific plate near the trench axis), and s33 (on the Hikurangi fore-arc slope).

In this next example, the top panel in the figure shows two repetitions of the 4-sec long waveform that is continuously transmitted by SUESI during deep-tow operations. The bottom panel shows a real snippet of the time-series from site s14, when the transmitter was within range of the receiver. There is a clear resemblance between the transmitted and recorded waveforms, but the recordings contain much more structure. This is because the transmitted waveform is being distorted by the electrical structure of the seafloor, which is what we hope to disentangle from the data with inversion modeling.

Top panel: the raw SUESI transmitted waveform. Bottom panel: waveform recordings at site s14. Channels 1&2 are the magnetic fields recorded with induction coil magnetometers. Channels 3&4 are the electric fields recorded with silver-silver chloride electrodes.

EM Lab completes deep tow operations in extensive survey of the Hikurangi Trench off New Zealand

PI Samer Naif led a large team that included Lamont graduate students Christine Chesley, Bar Oryan, and Daniel Blatter onboard the R/V Roger Revelle in the waters east of North Island, New Zealand to carry out a marine electromagnetic (EM) survey of the Hikurangi subduction zone. The project includes over 168 seafloor EM receiver stations and over 400 line-km of transmitter deep-tow tows, making it the largest marine EM experiment at a subduction zone yet.  The data will allow the team to assess the role that fluids play in both generating subduction zone earthquakes, and in controlling the seismic behavior of faults more generally.

Click here to see photos and read the cruise blog.


Final SUESI tow complete!

I’m delighted to report that we have succesfully completed our final SUESI tow of HT-RESIST. We managed to collect nearly 20% more controlled-source EM data on top of the ~400 line-km originally planned. That may not seem like a big deal, but in the marine research world, it’s an achievement to celebrate (and celebrate we will, likely with oysters and karaoke). It’s all thanks to the 29 days of continuous and very hard work put in by the science party and the crew of the R/V Revelle.

The entire science team keeping it cool and prepping for the final SUESI deployment of the cruise. Clockwise from back left: Samer Naif, Eric Attias, Christine Chesley, Christopher Armerding, Joanna Sherman, Gesa Franz, Andrea Adams, Bar Oryan, Jacob Perez, and Daniel Blatter.

Our work schedule will mellow out for the remainder of the cruise, and I should be able to post a few more blurbs on how the data are turning out, and what is left for us to do before returning to Wellington port.

Hunting for earthquakes

Ever since Kerry Key was knighted as an ‘Earthquake Hunter’ on San Diego’s local Fox News station back in 2010 (during the SERPENT research cruise), I too have always wanted to claim this title. After perusing through some of the time-series data from this survey, I am happy to report that we recorded several earthquakes.

The OBEM receivers are equipped with induction coil magnetometers, which are magnetic field sensors that moonlight as seismometers since they are highly sensitive to tilt motions (check out the recent paper by Barak et al on the publications webpage for more insight). The screenshot below shows the signal generated by a magnitude (Mw) 5.0 earthquake on the magnetic field data of three OBEM receivers. This particular earthquake occured over 1100 km away!

Yellow star shows epicenter of (Mw 5.0) earthquake that occured at 12:48pm on Christmas day (UTC). Red triangles show the location of the three OBEMs whose magnetic field recordings are plotted in the figure below.