Story: Charting the sea floor

Multibeam surveying

Multibeam surveying

This image shows the research ship Tangaroa and an artist's depiction of the beam of sound waves mapping the ocean floor. Multibeam surveying provides incredibly detailed imagery of the seabed. On board survey ships, instruments emit multiple beams of sound waves, which are reflected off the ocean floor. As the sound waves bounce back with different strengths and timing, computers analyse these differences to determine the depth and shape of the sea floor, and whether the bottom is rock, sand or mud.

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NIWA – National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

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How to cite this page:

Lionel Carter, 'Charting the sea floor - Multibeam echo sounding', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 18 July 2024)

Story by Lionel Carter, published 12 Jun 2006