Meter Accuracy Seafloor Geodesy using Repeated Multibeam Surveys

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 11:05 AM
John Boone DeSanto, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA, United States and David T Sandwell, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, United States
Ship-board multibeam surveys are a useful tool in measuring tectonic deformation of the seafloor, having been used to measure the ~50 m of surface slip along the Japan trench during the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake with an uncertainty of 20 m (Fujiwara et al, 2011, Science). In this study, we investigate the improvement in positioning accuracy obtainable when comparing multibeam and sidescan surveys repeated along the same track to within 1/10 of the critical baseline and taken at a slow ship speed of 1 knot. We compare two surveys of the Juan de Fuca Ridge axis fitting these criteria with two coincident surveys of the Cocos Ridge, taken at 11 knots. Both pairs of surveys were collected using a Simrad EM120 sonar system aboard the RV Roger Revelle. We find the multibeam surveys of the Juan de Fuca ridge axis sufficient to measure displacements accurate to better than 2 m, a marked improvement over the 50 m accuracy of the Cocos ridge surveys. Likewise, we can measure displacement accurate to 2 m using the sidescan data from the Juan de Fuca surveys. This accuracy is sufficient to observe meter-level horizontal movements on the deep ocean associated with large earthquakes and landslides.