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The Okeanos has three ocean mapping sonar systems: a 30 kHz EM 302 multibeam sonar, an 18 kHz EK 60 single-beam sonar, and a 3.5 kHz Knudsen 3260 Chirp subbottom profiler; the multibeam system collects bathymetry, seafloor backscatter, and water column backscatter. Mapping operations are managed by a team of three seafloor mapping scientists. One of the scientists sails on every ROV cruise and is responsible for creating a detailed map of the area that is used by scientists when deciding where to dive, and later guides the ROV navigators on the local seafloor terrain. The sonars are run during transit between ROV dive sites, and the crew switches to mapping operations anytime that rough weather or strong currents prevent them from deploying the ROVs. The data are collected, corrected, and processed in real time on board the Okeanos, and summary map products are created daily and immediately made available to collaborating scientists onshore. After each cruise, all of the raw sonar data and finalized summary map products are delivered to the National Geophysical Data Center and are made available to the public within 60 to 90 days. Okeanos data served as the basis for recently published papers documenting hundreds of methane plumes off of the Atlantic margin . In the upcoming field season, the Okeanos will be mapping in the Caribbean trenches and seamounts, complementing previous work by the Ocean Exploration Trust E/V Nautilus , and will also be mapping in the Pacific Marine Monuments and Sanctuaries, building on the recent extensive mapping project undertaken by the Schmidt Ocean Institute R/V Falkor  -- two more Fledermaus clients doing great exploration and providing fantastic data and research platforms for scientists.

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System display while acquiring submarine canyon mapping data. Image courtesy of NOAA Okeanos Explorer Program, Our Deepwater Backyard: Exploring Atlantic Canyons and Seamounts 2014.

 

How the Okeanos team uses QPS Fledermaus 

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