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Seismometers have been placed on the ocean bottom for about 45 years, beginning with the work of Ewing and Vine [1938], and their current use to measure signals from earthquakes and explosions constitutes an important research method for seismological studies. Approximately 20 research groups are active in the United Kingdom, France, West Germany, Japan, Canada, and the United States. A review of ocean bottom seismometer (OBS) instrument characteristics and OBS scientific studies may be found in Whitmarsh and Lilwall [1984]. OBS instrumentation is also important for land seismology. The recording systems that have been developed have been generally more sophisticated than those available for land use, and several modern land seismic recording systems are based on OBS recording system designs.

The instrumentation developed for OBS work was the topic of a meeting held at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in July 1982. This article will discuss the state of the art of OBS Technology, some of the problems remaining to be solved, and some of the solutions proposed and implemented by OBS scientists and engineers. It is not intended as a comprehensive review of existing instrumentation.