Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 08 Issue 01

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Volume 08, No. 1
Pages 4 - 10


Monitoring Ocean Earthquakes With SOSUS: An Example From the Caribbean

By C.J. Bryan and C.E. Nishimura  
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T-phases are acoustic signals in which the primary portion of the propagation path is through tile oceans. Energy sources resulting m the generation of T-phases include earthquakes, submarine volcanism, and underwater explosions. Once seismic energy is cot, pled into the water column. T-phases propagate as compressional waves primarily through the Sound Fixing and Ranging (SOFAR) Channel, and may be reconverted, at continental shelves, into short-period elastic waves that travel through the sediments and basement of the continents. The wave-guide effect of the sound channel combined with the low attenuation of sound m seawater permit T-phases to propagate over great distances through the oceans. It is this fundamental property of T-phases that make them ideal for the study of love-magnitude seismicity within the oceans. The frequency content of T-phases (1 – >100 Hz) is such that attenuation within the crust and upper mantle precludes long-range inland propagation: therefore, the best instruments for the detection and analysis of T-phases are underwater hydrophones which record seismo-acoustic signals that cannot be detected by conventional short-period seismographs (Shurbet, 1962).


Bryan, C.J., and C.E. Nishimura. 1995. Monitoring ocean earthquakes with SOSUS: An example from the Caribbean. Oceanography 8(1):4–10, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.1995.25.

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