Installing the First Extension Cable On the Seafloor

Thursday, July 11, 2013
ROCLS on the Seafloor Dive 1599

July 10 was an exciting day for the UW-Regional Scale Nodes Team with the successful installation of >600 m (2000 ft) of extension cable onto the seafloor at the base of Axial Volcano (water depth 8530 ft). This was our first experience watching the ROPOS cable laying system called ROCLS (Remotely Operated Cable Laying System) in action. The 600 m cable has wet-mate connectors on both ends of the cable, allowing future underwater connection to the Primary Node PN3A and a junction box that will provide power and communications to a broadband seismometer, pressure sensor and current meter. The broadband will be buried in a caisson to make the acoustic environment as quiet as possible for best detection of earthquakes. Although laying of cable on the seafloor may at first sound like an easy operation, at depths of >8000 ft beneath the oceans surface, operations are more difficult. The first cable lay went very well, however, and we are excited to test the cable and junction box on the next dive, powering up the system and talking to it through ROPOS.