Preparing to set sail on the AACSE Active Source seismic expedition!

Over the past week crew and scientists have been traveling to Kodiak, Alaska, and preparing for sailing on the Alaska Amphibious Array Community Seismic Experiment active seismic source expedition. We are now all aboard and excited and ready to go!


Graduate students Hongda Wang (University of Colorado) and Gokce Astekin (Oklahoma State University arrive at the airport in Kodiak, Alaska. Our science team includes the chief and co-chief scientist, 1 postdoc, 6 graduate students, 2 undergraduate students, and a USGS seafloor mapping expert. Also on board are 7 science technical staff, 6 protected species observers, and a maritime crew of 19.

View from the bridge of the R/V Marcus G. Langseth, our home away from home for the next 19 days. We hope that our seas will be as calm as it has been here at our port in Kodiak. During our expedition we will use seismic reflection methods to make a
three-dimensional image of the subsurface in order to better understand the generation of earthquakes in this area. This area has had many large earthquakes in the past, and there is a significant earthquake and tsunami hazard in Kodiak and surrounding regions.

Chief Scientist Anne Becel from Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory checking out the seismic sources to be used on the cruise. These sources, called ‘air guns’ push a bubble of compressed air into the water, and the collapse of the bubble sends a seismic wave into the earth. We will use the reflection of this signal off of subsurface rock layers to make an image of the subsurface. The physics is the same as medical ultrasound, we are just working at lower frequencies and much larger scales.

Graduate student Ellyn Huggins from the University of Nevada Reno standing by two enormous spools of cable (the yellow ones). The cables are each 6 km long, and have hydrophones built into them every 12.5 meters.  The hydrophones pick up the seismic
reflections that are generated from the airgun signal reflecting off of subsurface geologic layers. The cables are long because we want to pick up reflections over a large enough range of distances to clearly identify the seismic reflections.

Our chief steward (head chef) Hervin Fuller and his team are well-prepared to feed the 45 crew and scientists onboard 4 meals a day (there is a midnight meal since we have 24/7 operations and some people sleep in the day) during our 19 day expedition. Our pantry stock includes 135 gallons of milk, 5 crates of apples (over 400 apples), 15 dozen eggs, and cases of lettuce, peppers, meat, coffee, ice cream, dry goods, and everything we
will need for our time at sea. Before his time on the Langseth, Hervin was a chef on a cruise line for many years, and he often surprises the crew with shrimp fra diavolo and other Italian dishes.

We can’t wait to share more of our adventure with you! Thanks
for reading.

Anne Sheehan
University of Colorado Boulder
Co-Chief Scientist
Cruise No. MGL19-03
AACSE 2D MCS / OBS Seismic Survey


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