Support of Gulf of Mexico Hydrate Research Consortium: Activities to Support Establishment of a Sea Floor Monitoring Station Project. Progress Report: December 2003-May 2004

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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 … continued below

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Higley, Paul; Woolsey, J. Robert; Goodman, Ralph; Asper, Vernon; Mizaikoff, Boris & Davis, Angela September 1, 2005.

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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 six months into the extended life of this cooperative agreement include: (1) Progress on the vertical line array (VLA) of sensors: Analysis and repair attempts of the VLA used in the deep water deployment during October 2003 have been completed; Definition of an interface protocol for the VLA DATS to the SFO has been established; Design modifications to allow integration of the VLA to the SFO have been made; Experience gained in the deployments of the first VLA is being applied to the design of the next VLAs; One of the two planned new VLAs being modified to serve as an Oceanographic Line Array (OLA). (2) Progress on the Sea Floor Probe: The decision to replace the Sea Floor Probe technology with the borehole emplacement of a geophysical array was reversed due to the 1300m water depth at the JIP selected borehole site. The SFP concept has been revisited as a deployment technique for the subsea floor array; The SFP has been redesigned to include gravity driven emplacement of an array up to 10m into the shallow subsurface of the sea floor. (3) Progress on the Acoustic Systems for Monitoring Gas Hydrates: Video recordings of bubbles emitted from a seep in Mississippi Canyon have been analyzed for effects of currents and temperature changes; Several acoustic monitoring system concepts have been evaluated for their appropriateness to MC118, i.e., on the deep sea floor; 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: The initial Inductive Conductivity Cell has been constructed from components acquired during the previous reporting period; Laboratory tests involving measuring bubble volume as a component of conductivity have been performed; The laboratory tests were performed in a closed system, under controlled conditions; the relationship between voltage and bubble volume appears to be linear. (5) Progress on the Mid-Infrared Sensor for Continuous Methane Monitoring: Designs and construction schematics for all electronic mounting pieces and an electronics system baseplate were finalized after extensive modeling to facilitate the successful fabrication and implementation of electronic components into the deep-sea, glass instrument housing; Construction schematics and fabrication of an electronics system baseplate have been completed with successful integration of all currently fabricated electronic mounting pieces; Modeling and design of an optics platform complementary to the constructed electronics platform for successful incorporation into ''sphereIR'' has commenced; A second generation chemometric data evaluation software package for evaluating complex spectra including corrections for baseline drifts and spectral anomalies resulting from matrix substances has been developed and will be incorporated into an optimized ''deepSniff'' program upon completion of initial systems tests of the ''sphereIR''; Continuation of spectroscopic investigations of the highly permeable polymer, poly(trimethylsilyl)propyne (PTMSP), as a potential sensing membrane for methane have continued and will continue in the following project period.; High-pressure multireflection ATR measurements simulating deep-sea conditions for evaluating environmental impact on the sensor system and multivariate data analysis continue. (6) Progress on the Seismo-acoustic Characterization of Sea Floor Properties and Processes at the Hydrate Monitoring Station: Work has continued on developing the electronic part of the acoustic logging system designed for investigating fine-scale temporal changes in sea floor acoustic reflection responses at the Gas Hydrate Monitoring Station; The hardware has been built and extensively tested.

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  • September 1, 2005

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Higley, Paul; Woolsey, J. Robert; Goodman, Ralph; Asper, Vernon; Mizaikoff, Boris & Davis, Angela. Support of Gulf of Mexico Hydrate Research Consortium: Activities to Support Establishment of a Sea Floor Monitoring Station Project. Progress Report: December 2003-May 2004, report, September 1, 2005; United States. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc785856/: accessed April 16, 2021), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.