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A new seafloor electromagnetic station with an Overhauser magnetometer, a magnetotelluric variograph and an acoustic telemetry modem


A new type of SeaFloor ElectroMagnetic Station (SFEMS) has been newly developed by adding a magnetotelluric (MT) variograph to its prototype built previously (Toh and Hamano, 1997). New SFEMS is able to conduct long-term electromagnetic (EM) observations at the seafloor, which is one of the principal goals of the Ocean Hemisphere Project (OHP). Long-term seafloor EM observations enable us to probe into the deep Earth (both the mantle and the core) by improving the spatial coverage of the existing EM observation network. The SFEMS has been tested in three sea experiments to yield 3 components of the geomagnetic field, 2 horizontal components of the geoelectric field and 2 components of tilts in addition to the absolute geomagnetic total force. The SFEMS is designed for measuring these EM signals at the seafloor continuously for as long as 2 yrs.

The SFEMS mainly consists of the following three parts: (1) An Overhauser proton precession magnetometer for the absolute measurements of the geomagnetic total force with a possible bias of less than 10 nT. (2) An MT variograph that measures the rest of the EM components and tilt. (3) An Acoustic Telemetry Modem (ATM) that allows us to control/monitor the seafloor instrument as well as data transmission at the maximum rate of 1200 baud.

Construction of seafloor EM observatories in regions where significant EM data have never been collected is now quite feasible by development of the SFEMS.


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Correspondence to Hiroaki Toh.

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Toh, H., Goto, T. & Hamano, Y. A new seafloor electromagnetic station with an Overhauser magnetometer, a magnetotelluric variograph and an acoustic telemetry modem. Earth Planet Sp 50, 895–903 (1998).

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  • Acoustic Communication
  • Magnetotellurics
  • Geomagnetic Observatory
  • Geoelectric Field
  • Submarine Cable