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December 2004 National Research Flagship www.csiro.au/wealthfromoceans

Mapping our ocean beds

OceanMAG will have the ability to locate metal sulphide chimneys on the sea floor (as shown) and other sub-sea floor deposits which would otherwise be hidden. Photo courtesy of CSIRO Exploration and Mining, Seabed Ore Systems.

OceanMAG will have the ability to locate metal sulphide chimneys on the sea floor (as shown) and other sub-sea floor deposits which would otherwise be hidden. Photo courtesy of CSIRO Exploration and Mining, Seabed Ore Systems.

A new research program directed towards unlocking new industrial development opportunities for Australia’s ocean-based industries is being explored by the Wealth from Oceans Flagship. Led by Dr Cathy Foley, this program aims to build and produce a unique magnetic gradiometer called OceanMAG that will be able to measure magnetic fields in the oceans and also within the shallower parts of the seafloor itself, providing an accurate image of the oceans and sea floor.

Measuring changes in the Earth’s magnetic field is not new, but the removal of background “noise” signals, including diurnal variations, from conventional data is often not possible and can produce ambiguous results. The unique feature of OceanMAG will be its ability to measure the full magnetic gradient tensor and vector components of the Earth’s magnetic field – providing relative measurements reading without background noise. The highly sensitive instrument will be capable of 3D mapping of the seafloor.

An important application for OceanMAG will be the precise location within the ocean crust of targets in the mineral and oil exploration industries. OceanMAG will also be a valuable seafloor mapping tool in oceanic surveys and may contribute to the mapping of ocean currents.

OceanMAG builds upon technologies developed by CSIRO’s divisions of Industrial Physics and Exploration and Mining – in particular the high temperature SQUID gradiometer sensor designed for land-based operations which is now a prototype. While this technology foundation shows promise for a range of ocean industries, it is presently undergoing detailed analysis to determine scientific efficacy and future developments.

IN THIS EDITION:

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Flagship Advisory Committee

And now for today’s ocean weather conditions…

Ocean corals provide key to climate changes

Healthier marine systems

Mapping our ocean beds

 
Meet Keith Sainsbury

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The Wealth from Oceans Flagship is a CSIRO initiative and part of the National Research Flagships program that aims to deliver scientific solutions to advance Australia's most important national objectives. One of the largest scientific initiatives ever mounted in Australia, it aligns closely with the Federal Government's National Research Priorities. The initiative brings together our national research resources to deliver breakthroughs in fields ranging from healthcare to light metals and the environment.

Wealth from Oceans Flagship
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Editor: Sylvia Bell
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