MoMARSAT 2017, Maintenance of the EMSO-Azores observatory

The EMSO-Azores team is delighted to announce the successful upgrade of the observatory, achieved during the yearly three-week maintenance cruise aboard the R/V Pourquoi Pas? (8-28 July). The observing capacity of the marine infrastructure was upgraded last year thanks to the development of a new electronic core called COSTOF2 based on Ethernet communication and implemented on the 2 monitoring nodes. This upgraded infrastructure was successfully redeployed and tested in situ using a WIFI link allowing communication at 50Mbits/sec between the ROV and the Sea monitoring station.
Transmissions are now back, and data from the connected instruments are accessible on the EMSO-Azores web page.
Over the coming year, these transmitted data will hopefully comprise:

  • From the seabed: number, level and date of seismic events detected since deployment, seabed pressure, snapshots from an HDTV camera focused on a mussel assemblage, Iron concentration, Oxygen concentration, turbidity sensor signal, temperature and chlorinity sensor parameters from a nearby hot vent, and engineering parameters,
  • From the sea surface: weather station parameters (wind, pressure, and temperature), buoy position and engineering parameters. In addition, the observatory setup comprises several sets of autonomous instruments, whose data are collected during the yearly maintenance cruises. These data and additional data stored in some of the connected instruments, will also be made available on the web after quality and format validation by the EMSO-Azores team. This year, the collected data includes: geodetic data from a GPS set on the transmission buoy, current, pressure, temperature and salinity data from an oceanographic mooring set near the vent field, HD video footage from the instrumented mussel assemblage, complete seismic data from the connected seismometer and from a seabed array of four hydrophones set near the vents, temperature data from 24 temperature sensors distributed in hot and diffuse vents, bottom current and seafloor pressure from autonomous probes.

Highlights of this year's maintenance cruise are:

  • the uneventful maintenance of the whole system, indicating that we have reached a good level in terms of system robustness and maintenance procedures
  • the successful preliminary seafloor test of a brand new prototype (DEAFS) for sequential sampling of hot vent fluids. Following this test, the new instrument has been deployed for a year with preset sampling every month.
  • the exchange of the BOREL relay buoy for a brand new one after 7 years of operation.