is a portable side-scan sonar seafloor imaging system that simultaneously
acquires digital bathymetric data (or seafloor elevation) and acoustic
backscatter images (or textures) as the system is towed behind a
research ship moving at 6-10 knots. Side-scan information is similar
to what you'd see if you took an aerial photograph of your hometown.
The locations of houses, trees and cars would be apparent, but it
would be hard to tell where there were hills and valleys. That information the
shape, or topography, of the land is provided by the bathymetry
data. By combining the broad shapes with the fine-scale textures,
geologists are better able to understand the processes taking place
on the seafloor.
The Hawaii MR1 launch and recovery system.
MR1 bathymetry and acoustic imagery of small volcanoes (top)
and abyssal hills (bottom) in the North Pacific Ocean. Bathymetry
contour interval is 100 m, annotated in hundreds of meters.
Sidescan swath width is 20 km. These images contain 3 hours of
data that were processed, gridded and charted at sea -- no
additional data processing has been performed.