Skip to main content

Acoustic Zoom: a marine-life friendly alternative to seismic imaging

by Futures Centre, Jan 26
2 minutes read

In November 2014, scientists from the University of Bath revealed a sonar system called Acoustic Zoom, which is less disruptive to marine life but also improves the resolution of imaging beyond that of current methods.

Acoustic zoom 1280x500

 

The most common method used when undertaking geological surveys of the seabed is seismic imaging, which involves transmitting sound energy into the ground to build an image of the geological structure from the energy waves that are reflected back to the receiver. Seismic imaging uses equipment, such as transponders, and methods, such as controlled explosions (seismic tomography), that can be highly disruptive to marine life. In addition to impacting the behavioural and migration habits of marine wildlife, conventional methods produce poor quality images that often miss details such as fractures and fissures in strata.

 

Acoustic Zoom works on a different principle than conventional seismic imaging. Instead of building an image from the sound energy reflected back from the depths of the sea, Acoustic Zoom records how the sound energy is scattered. By placing a 16-spoke sensing array on the seabed, information that is usually discarded in conventional methods is collected to create a high quality image that is able to pick up new details in the underground geology.

 

As the system involves more sensors and transmitters, each pulse of sound can be released using a smaller amount of energy but at a much higher frequency. As this is done over a longer period of time, the scanning becomes less impactful and more efficient compared to conventional methods.

 

Image credit: University of Bath

Details

  • Other Tags:
by Futures Centre Spotted 1940 signals

Have you spotted a signal of change?

Register to receive the latest from the Futures Centre.
Sign up

  • 0
  • Share

Related signals

Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We'd also like to set optional analytics cookies to help us improve it. We won't set optional cookies unless you enable them. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences.

For more detailed information about the cookies we use, see our Cookies page.

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics cookies

We'd like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone. For more information on how these cookies work, please see our 'Cookies page'.

>