Hurricane Sandy Leaves Fingerprints on Sea Floor

University of Delaware/PhysOrg
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Picture credit UD/Teresa Messmore/PhysOrg

Researchers use side-scan & multi-beam sonar to get a good picture of what the passage of the storm did to the sea bed.

Beneath the 20-foot waves that crested off Delaware's coast during Hurricane Sandy, thrashing waters reshaped the floor of the ocean, churning up fine sand and digging deep ripples into the seabed. Fish, crustaceans and other marine life were blasted with sand as the storm sculpted new surfaces underwater.

University of Delaware (UD) scientists cued up their instruments to document the offshore conditions before, during and after Sandy's arrival to scrutinize the differences and better predict the environmental impact of future storms.

"Out here, we're trying to get the fingerprint of the storm," said Arthur Trembanis, associate professor of geological sciences and oceanography, aboard the research vessel Hugh R. Sharp.

Trembanis and his colleagues focused in on Redbird Reef, an artificial reef about 16 miles off the coast of the Indian River Inlet. The site contains old subway cars, boats and truck tires sunk over the past decade to provide habitat for sea creatures . The scientists have been studying the reef in recent years, among other "hard bottom" sites in this otherwise barren, sandy region, to examine the ecosystem found there and create detailed maps of the seafloor.

Besides improving scientists' understanding of the natural environment, the work has potential military applications: Shifting underwater sands and sediment can bury—or uncover—dangerous mines used to explode enemy vessels in conflict zones . Understanding how weather conditions can affect such objects on the bottom of the ocean could help the Navy, which funded this scientific cruise, identify and avoid the weapons.

In the peacetime waters off Mid-Atlantic shores, however, the manmade structures at the reef serve as research substitutes for mines. Two days before Hurricane Sandy hit, Trembanis' group set up a specialized buoy at the reef with three different types of equipment attached that rested on the seafloor to measure waves, currents and sand formations on the seafloor.

Side-scan sonar images of Redbird Reef before and after Hurricane Sandy showed wave ripples and exposed mud among the submerged subway cars.

In analyzing the data collected, the scientists will link the geological markings on the seafloor to wave conditions and currents. Then they can develop models of how sediments move and predict whether areas might experience extensive scouring.



 

Maritime Reporter November 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Technology

Liquefaction Terminals to Dominate LNG Capital Expenditure

Capital expenditure (Capex) on global LNG facilities is expected to total $259 billion (bn) over the period 2015-2019, with investments expected to be 88% larger

Ennsub Delivers ROV Deployment Systems

Ennsub has completed the design and manufacture of two workclass remotely operated vehicle (WROV) deployment systems for ROVOP, due to be installed into a newbuild

Wärtsilä to Proceed with first LNG Terminal

Wärtsilä has been given full notice to proceed (NTP) from Manga LNG Oy for the supply of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminal in Tornio, Northern Finland.

Marine Science

NOAA: US to See More Floods from Sea Level Rise

Most of U.S. coast may see 30 or more days a year of floods up to 2 feet above high tides. By 2050, a majority of U.S. coastal areas are likely to be threatened

Damen Shipyards Galati wins Dutch Romanian Award

Damen Shipyards Galati has been presented with the Dutch Romanian Business Award for its Corporate Social Responsibility plan, particularly the Group’s community investment initiatives.

Lowrance Renews Insight Genesis College Cup

Lowrance®, a world-leading brand in fishing electronics since 1957— announced today the renewal of its Insight Genesis™ College Cup. In its second year, the

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1552 sec (6 req/sec)