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Title: SUPPORT OF GULF OF MEXICO HYDRATE RESEARCH CONSORTIUM: ACTIVITIES TO SUPPORT ESTABLISHMENT OF A SEA FLOOR MONITORING STATION PROJECT

Abstract

A Consortium, designed to assemble leaders in gas hydrates research, has been established at the University of Mississippi's Center for Marine Resources and Environmental Technology, CMRET. The primary objective of the group is to design and emplace a remote monitoring station on the sea floor in the northern Gulf of Mexico by the year 2005, in an area where gas hydrates are known to be present at, or just below, the sea floor. This mission necessitates assembling a station that will monitor physical and chemical parameters of the sea water and sea floor sediments on a more-or-less continuous basis over an extended period of time. Development of the station allows for the possibility of expanding its capabilities to include biological monitoring, as a means of assessing environmental health. Establishment of the Consortium has succeeded in fulfilling the critical need to coordinate activities, avoid redundancies and communicate effectively among researchers in this relatively new research arena. Complementary expertise, both scientific and technical, has been assembled to promote innovative research methods and construct necessary instrumentation. Noteworthy achievements one year into the extended life of this cooperative agreement include: (1) Progress on the vertical line array (VLA) of sensors: (1a) Repair attempts ofmore » the VLA cable damaged in the October >1000m water depth deployment failed; a new design has been tested successfully. (1b) The acoustic modem damaged in the October deployment was repaired successfully. (1c) Additional acoustic modems with greater depth rating and the appropriate surface communications units have been purchased. (1d) The VLA computer system is being modified for real time communications to the surface vessel using radio telemetry and fiber optic cable. (1e) Positioning sensors--including compass and tilt sensors--were completed and tested. (1f) One of the VLAs has been redesigned to collect near sea floor geochemical data. (2) Progress on the Sea Floor Probe: (2a) With the Consortium's decision to divorce its activities from those of the Joint Industries Program (JIP), due to the JIP's selection of a site in 1300m of water, the Sea Floor Probe (SFP) system was revived as a means to emplace arrays in the shallow subsurface until arrangements can be made for boreholes at >1000m water depth. (2b) The SFP penetrometer has been designed and construction begun. (2c) The SFP geophysical and pore-fluid probes have been designed. (3) Progress on the Acoustic Systems for Monitoring Gas Hydrates: (3a) Video recordings of bubbles emitted from a seep in Mississippi Canyon have been analyzed for effects of currents and temperature changes. (3b) Several acoustic monitoring system concepts have been evaluated for their appropriateness to MC118, i.e., on the deep sea floor. (3c) A mock-up system was built but was rejected as too impractical for deployment on the sea floor. (4) Progress on the Electromagnetic Bubble Detector and Counter: (4a) Laboratory tests were performed using bubbles of different sizes in waters of different salinities to test the sensitivity of the. Differences were detected satisfactorily. (4b) The system was field tested, first at the dock and then at the shallow water test site at Cape Lookout Bight where methane bubbles from the sea floor, naturally, in 10m water depth. The system successfully detected peaks in bubbling as spike decreases in conductivity. (5) Progress on the Mid-Infrared Sensor for Continuous Methane Monitoring: (5a) Modeling and design of an optics platform complementary to the constructed electronics platform for successful incorporation into ''sphereIR'' continues. AutoCAD design and manual construction of mounting pieces for major optical components have been completed. (5b) Initial design concepts for IR-ATR sensor probe geometries have been established and evaluated. Initial evaluations of a horizontal ATR (HATR) sensing probe with fiber optic guiding light have been performed and validate the design concept as a potentially viable deep sea sensing probe. (5c) Ray tracing simulations have been performed to evaluate light propagation through HATR elements to facilitate the optimal design of both the sensing probe and optical configuration of ''sphereIR''. (5d) The highly permeable polymer, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), was investigated as a potential methane enrichment membrane for IR-ATR sensors. (6) Progress on the Seismo-acoustic Characterization of Sea Floor Properties and Processes at the Hydrate Monitoring Station: (6a) All system components underwent extensive testing in preparation for determining sea floor acoustic reflection responses at the Gas Hydrate Monitoring Station. (6b) Final testing and commissioning have been completed.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
The University of Mississippi
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
860514
DOE Contract Number:  
FC26-02NT41628
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
03 NATURAL GAS; ACOUSTIC MONITORING; ACOUSTICS; BOREHOLES; FIBER OPTICS; FLOORS; GAS HYDRATES; GULF OF MEXICO; HYDRATES; MEMBRANES; METHANE; MONITORING; PENETROMETERS; TELEMETRY

Citation Formats

Paul Higley, J. Robert Woolsey, Ralph Goodman, Vernon Asper, Boris Mizaikoff, and Angela Davis. SUPPORT OF GULF OF MEXICO HYDRATE RESEARCH CONSORTIUM: ACTIVITIES TO SUPPORT ESTABLISHMENT OF A SEA FLOOR MONITORING STATION PROJECT. United States: N. p., 2005. Web. doi:10.2172/860514.
Paul Higley, J. Robert Woolsey, Ralph Goodman, Vernon Asper, Boris Mizaikoff, & Angela Davis. SUPPORT OF GULF OF MEXICO HYDRATE RESEARCH CONSORTIUM: ACTIVITIES TO SUPPORT ESTABLISHMENT OF A SEA FLOOR MONITORING STATION PROJECT. United States. doi:10.2172/860514.
Paul Higley, J. Robert Woolsey, Ralph Goodman, Vernon Asper, Boris Mizaikoff, and Angela Davis. Tue . "SUPPORT OF GULF OF MEXICO HYDRATE RESEARCH CONSORTIUM: ACTIVITIES TO SUPPORT ESTABLISHMENT OF A SEA FLOOR MONITORING STATION PROJECT". United States. doi:10.2172/860514. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/860514.
@article{osti_860514,
title = {SUPPORT OF GULF OF MEXICO HYDRATE RESEARCH CONSORTIUM: ACTIVITIES TO SUPPORT ESTABLISHMENT OF A SEA FLOOR MONITORING STATION PROJECT},
author = {Paul Higley and J. Robert Woolsey and Ralph Goodman and Vernon Asper and Boris Mizaikoff and Angela Davis},
abstractNote = {A Consortium, designed to assemble leaders in gas hydrates research, has been established at the University of Mississippi's Center for Marine Resources and Environmental Technology, CMRET. The primary objective of the group is to design and emplace a remote monitoring station on the sea floor in the northern Gulf of Mexico by the year 2005, in an area where gas hydrates are known to be present at, or just below, the sea floor. This mission necessitates assembling a station that will monitor physical and chemical parameters of the sea water and sea floor sediments on a more-or-less continuous basis over an extended period of time. Development of the station allows for the possibility of expanding its capabilities to include biological monitoring, as a means of assessing environmental health. Establishment of the Consortium has succeeded in fulfilling the critical need to coordinate activities, avoid redundancies and communicate effectively among researchers in this relatively new research arena. Complementary expertise, both scientific and technical, has been assembled to promote innovative research methods and construct necessary instrumentation. Noteworthy achievements one year into the extended life of this cooperative agreement include: (1) Progress on the vertical line array (VLA) of sensors: (1a) Repair attempts of the VLA cable damaged in the October >1000m water depth deployment failed; a new design has been tested successfully. (1b) The acoustic modem damaged in the October deployment was repaired successfully. (1c) Additional acoustic modems with greater depth rating and the appropriate surface communications units have been purchased. (1d) The VLA computer system is being modified for real time communications to the surface vessel using radio telemetry and fiber optic cable. (1e) Positioning sensors--including compass and tilt sensors--were completed and tested. (1f) One of the VLAs has been redesigned to collect near sea floor geochemical data. (2) Progress on the Sea Floor Probe: (2a) With the Consortium's decision to divorce its activities from those of the Joint Industries Program (JIP), due to the JIP's selection of a site in 1300m of water, the Sea Floor Probe (SFP) system was revived as a means to emplace arrays in the shallow subsurface until arrangements can be made for boreholes at >1000m water depth. (2b) The SFP penetrometer has been designed and construction begun. (2c) The SFP geophysical and pore-fluid probes have been designed. (3) Progress on the Acoustic Systems for Monitoring Gas Hydrates: (3a) Video recordings of bubbles emitted from a seep in Mississippi Canyon have been analyzed for effects of currents and temperature changes. (3b) Several acoustic monitoring system concepts have been evaluated for their appropriateness to MC118, i.e., on the deep sea floor. (3c) A mock-up system was built but was rejected as too impractical for deployment on the sea floor. (4) Progress on the Electromagnetic Bubble Detector and Counter: (4a) Laboratory tests were performed using bubbles of different sizes in waters of different salinities to test the sensitivity of the. Differences were detected satisfactorily. (4b) The system was field tested, first at the dock and then at the shallow water test site at Cape Lookout Bight where methane bubbles from the sea floor, naturally, in 10m water depth. The system successfully detected peaks in bubbling as spike decreases in conductivity. (5) Progress on the Mid-Infrared Sensor for Continuous Methane Monitoring: (5a) Modeling and design of an optics platform complementary to the constructed electronics platform for successful incorporation into ''sphereIR'' continues. AutoCAD design and manual construction of mounting pieces for major optical components have been completed. (5b) Initial design concepts for IR-ATR sensor probe geometries have been established and evaluated. Initial evaluations of a horizontal ATR (HATR) sensing probe with fiber optic guiding light have been performed and validate the design concept as a potentially viable deep sea sensing probe. (5c) Ray tracing simulations have been performed to evaluate light propagation through HATR elements to facilitate the optimal design of both the sensing probe and optical configuration of ''sphereIR''. (5d) The highly permeable polymer, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), was investigated as a potential methane enrichment membrane for IR-ATR sensors. (6) Progress on the Seismo-acoustic Characterization of Sea Floor Properties and Processes at the Hydrate Monitoring Station: (6a) All system components underwent extensive testing in preparation for determining sea floor acoustic reflection responses at the Gas Hydrate Monitoring Station. (6b) Final testing and commissioning have been completed.},
doi = {10.2172/860514},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Nov 01 00:00:00 EST 2005},
month = {Tue Nov 01 00:00:00 EST 2005}
}

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