Visiting scientist Heidrun Kopp, a professor at the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR) in Germany, is at Ocean Networks Canada (ONC) until October to research seafloor geodesy along the northern Cascadia margin and explore possibilities for international collaborations.
ONC’s Northern Cascadia subduction zone observatory project aims to provide further critical information on seismic risks in British Columbia, and will be operated on ONC’s offshore observatory that crosses the major fault zone between the converging Juan de Fuca and North American tectonic plates. The proposed observatory seeks to equip scientists with the tools and data needed for the comprehensive study of these plates, whose movements trigger earthquakes and tsunamis.
The observatory proposal consists of a network of deep-sea geodesy stations that would monitor and measure plate deformation and “slow-slip” tectonic movement. These sophisticated seafloor stations would communicate acoustically with an autonomous Wave Glider surface vehicle to collect and transmit information.
According to Kopp, seafloor geodesy is a method that is not used widely because of its complexity and the relatively long time-series required to measure deformation of oceanic crust.
“ONC is one of the few institutes in the world that is currently involved in a seafloor geodesy program, and this is what brings me to the University of Victoria,” Kopp says. “At GEOMAR we have recently implemented a seafloor geodesy array, which is complementary to what is being set up at ONC, so this is the perfect time to explore opportunities in Canada for collaborative efforts and joint deployment.
“ONC’s offshore networks offer a unique opportunity for seafloor observatories—the perfect place for any geophysicist. Together with ONC and UVic, we are planning a research cruise on the German research vessel Sonne to explore the extent of plate-locking, slip-to-toe and prism deformation at Cascadia.”
Learn more about ONC’s other visiting scientists in 2018:
- Warwick Vincent, Université Laval (Quebec)
- Connie Lovejoy, Université Laval
- Christian Stranne, University of Stockholm (Sweden)