BGR Tests mobile 3D Seismic system

Friday, 19 October, 2012 - 14:45

For the first time, scientists at the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe) (BGR) have successfully tested their recently developed geophysical measuring techniques for investigating sub-sea underground structures. Over a period of six weeks, BGR experts covered an area of 80 km2 in the North Sea with their research vessel Meteor and surveyed it with their mobile multi-channel 3D seismic system.

Two cables with a length of 1,000 metres each, equipped with sensors and kept parallel to each other at a distance of 150 metres, were trailed by the Meteor. The sensors, known as hydrophones, record echoes of sound waves that have previously been emitted into the ground by air pulsers. "Our new 3D system models structures up to a depth of 1,000 metres below the seabed. It can be used by different types of ship and is unique in the European research landscape", explained expedition leader Volkmar Damm. One use of this technique is to explore the seabed for the construction of offshore wind farms, but it can also be used to investigate gas leakages and gas fields located near the surface of the ocean floor. "We have surveyed relatively small geological structures under the seabed and can now model them in detail", Damm explained.

The BGR has been adding to its marine seismic equipment since 2009 and focuses mainly on three-dimensional metrology. The oil industry has been working with three dimensional multi-channel metrology for some time, but it uses specialist vessels on which all the necessary equipment is permanently installed.  The cost of using this kind of ship is relatively high. In contrast, the mobile BGR equipment, which has been adapted to suit research requirements, is much more cost-effective and can be used more flexibly.

Katharina Garus


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