A request is made to fund additional and back-up instrumentation on the R/V Marcus Langseth, a 235? Global seismic vessel with general oceanographic capabilities operated by Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University as part of the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System research fleet. The request is for one item:

WesternGeco?s remaining SYNTRAK streamer system: $400,000

The Langseth, while operated as a general-purpose research vessel, possesses a unique capability with multichannel seismic acquisition systems and sound source arrays. These systems permit scientists to develop images of the earth?s structure, now in three dimensions, thereby gaining a better understanding of processes that affect society. One example is tsunami-generating and otherwise damaging earthquakes. As a result the Langseth presents a singular opportunity for researchers from across the country and around the world to investigate a range of questions regarding the marine sciences. Another area of impact is the contribution to education of students pursuing marine graduate degrees in the ocean sciences and in the case of the Langseth, marine geophysics. Participants in these programs also include undergraduates. In all cases the student participates as an integral member of a research team to obtain firsthand experience in at-sea research. Public outreach is ongoing throughout the year. The Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory website provides the opportunity for the public and the community to learn about the Langseth?s capabilities and serves as a window into the world of science.

Project Report

The 2011 Ocean Instrumentation II award funded critical equipment improvements and upgrades for the R/V Marcus G. Langseth. These funds, were used to purchase all of the remaining SYNTRAK solid cable streamer sections and streamer modules from Western Geco (seismic industry vendor) that remained in the world. The SYNTRAK seismic equipment system was proprietary to Western Geco and is the system that existed on the Langseth when ship was purchased but SYNTRAK no longer used or produced for the seismic industry. This purchase included over 40km (~270 sections - @150m long each) of additional cable sections and over 300 streamer modules, which more than doubled the amount of streamer equipment available for Langseth operations. 3D seismic operations on the Langseth require 24km of streamer cable in a 4x6km array to be deployed behind vessel at one time so having adequate streamer cable supplies and spares is absolutely vital to our operations. This important acquisition is absolutely one of the most critical made to date for maintaining Langseth operations until we can transition to a new streamer system in the future. The extra streamer sections are stored on reels at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Marine Warehouse until required on the vessel (Figure 1). This award also funded the acquisition and upgrade of Global Positioning System (GPS) pods, power supplies and antennae on the vessel that are used to monitor the position of the streamer and the source arrays when towed behind the vessel to collect seismic data. Accurate location is critical for data processing (Figures 2 and 3). The final addition was an upgraded new System-3 Hand-Held Computer system for verifying proper functionality of the our compass streamer cable levelers ("birds") prior to deployment and assisting in trouble-shooting and repair of the "birds". This equipment allows us to control depth of streamer cables when towed behind vessel.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE)
Standard Grant (Standard)
Application #
Program Officer
James S. Holik
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Columbia University
New York
United States
Zip Code