The monterey bay broadband ocean bottom seismic observatory

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B. Romanowicz
D. Stakes
D. Dolenc
D. Neuhauser
P. McGill
R. Uhrhammer
T. Ramirez


We report on the installation of a long-term buried ocean-floor broadband seismic station
(MOBB) in Monterey Bay, California (USA), 40km off-shore, at a water depth of 1000 m.
The station was installed in April 2002 using a ship and ROV, in a collaborative effort
between the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) and the Berkeley Seismological
Laboratory (BSL). The station is located on the western side of the San Gregorio
Fault, a major fault in the San Andreas plate boundary fault system. In addition to a
3-component CMG-1T seismometer package, the station comprises a current meter and Differential
Pressure Gauge, both sampled at high-enough frequency (1 Hz) to allow the study of
relations between background noise on the seismometers and ocean waves and currents. The
proximity of several land-based broadband seismic stations of the Berkeley Digital Seismic
Network allows insightful comparisons of land/ocean background seismic noise at periods
relevant to regional and teleseismic studies. The station is currently autonomous. Recording
and battery packages are exchanged every 3 months during scheduled one day dives. Ultimately,
this station will be linked to shore using continuous telemetry (cable and/or buoy)
and will contribute to the earthquake notification system in Northern California. We present
examples of earthquake and noise data recorded during the first 6 months of operation of
MOBB. Lessons learned from these and continued recordings will help understand the nature
and character of background noise in regional off-shore environments and provide a reference
for the installation of future off-shore temporary and permanent broadband seismic stations.

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How to Cite
Romanowicz B, Stakes D, Dolenc D, Neuhauser D, McGill P, Uhrhammer R, Ramirez T. The monterey bay broadband ocean bottom seismic observatory. Ann. Geophys. [Internet]. 2006Dec.25 [cited 2022Jun.27];49(2-3). Available from: