The determination of seismic structure in the Earth is essentially based on the combination of the study of seismic wave propagation, measurement of seismic ground motion, and the identification and interpretation of seismic signals in seismograms. The study of seismic signal detection and interpretation is, therefore, important and has provided numerous tools, which are constantly improved to increase the extraction of information from the seismograms. Most of the understanding has been obtained from those studies using the land global seismic networks data, although no network has ever been truly “global”, because most of the Earth’s surface is underwater, meaning that the gaps in the world coverage produce a partial and incomplete image of the Earth.

Establishing permanent observatories on the deep seafloor is essential. The retrieval of data from them remains a problem, but long-term temporary arrays of ocean bottom seismometers (OBS), are now being used in regional scale experiments. Large capacity, low power, digital recording devices are now readily available, and several experiments, with continuous recording of seismic signals over intervals of 8-12 months, have been accomplished. Therefore, seismic acquisition on the ocean bed is still in an experimental phase and going through a learning process, unlike land observation. However the long-term deployment of OBS’s at the bottom of the ocean lead us to some major problems to solve: i) the unknown orientation of the OBS on the seafloor; ii) no permanent clock; iii) levelling of the seismometer due to the soft sediments and tidal currents; iv) any malfunction, after deployment, results in the loss of data or even worse the loss of the instrument and v) an limited amount of energy available to power the electronic systems.

This project aims the development of new prototypes and solutions that will extend the observational capacities of the OBSs in a partnership between IDL, CEIIA and IFREMER. The project sets the goal of developing two new mechanical designs, also a new sensor without a levelling problem, a new acquisition system with a more accurate clock system and low power consumption and a new electronic release system to improve communications and to add functionalities in the seafloor. After development and building of two OBSs with different mechanical design, a real operation at sea will be prepared to estimate the technology maturity during the acquisition. The technology must prove to work in its final form and under expected conditions and the results of testing the system in its final configuration under the expected range of environmental conditions in which it will be expected to operate will be the final objective to validate the technology. These new technologies shall have significant impacts on seafloor research and will reinforcing the links and the interactions between the research community, OBS community and the Industry.