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. and Ramirez, T. (2006) “The monterey bay broadband ocean bottom seismic observatory”, Annals of Geophysics, 49(2-3). doi: 10.4401/ag-3132.