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Underwater sound waves help scientists locate ocean impacts

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John Ruybal
Oct 24, 2017 15:54
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Scientists have developed a new method to locate the precise time and location that objects fall into our oceans.

The method, developed by researchers from Cardiff University, uses underwater microphones, also known as hydrophones, to listen for underwater sound waves that are emitted when an object hits the sea surface.

They believe the new method could be used to locate meteorites, satellites or even parts of an aircraft that may have entered the ocean, and could also be used to locate underwater explosions, landslides or the epicentre of earthquakes far out at sea.

The new method, which has been presented in the journal Scientific Reports, relies on the measurement of acoustic gravity waves (AGWs) - naturally occurring sounds waves that move through the deep ocean at the speed of sound and can travel thousands of metres below the surface.

AGWs can measure tens or even hundreds of kilometres in length and it is thought that certain lifeforms such as plankton, that are unable to swim against a current, rely on the waves to aid their movement, enhancing their ability to find food.

When objects hit the sea surface they cause a sudden change in water pressure which leads to the generation of AGWs.

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John Ruybal
Oct 24, 2017 15:54
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