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Images: Putting H2O in the Ocean

Crew members of the University of Washington's R/V Thomas Thompson deploy the junction box that provides electrical outlets for scientific instruments at the Hawaii- 2 Observatory (H2O), the first long-term, midocean seafloor observatory. The junction box is spliced to a retired submarine telephone cable, which provides power to the instruments and allows data to be transmitted in real time from seafloor to shore. (Julie Allen.)

WHOI Senior Scientist Alan Chave displays a section of the submarine cable that was cut during the installation of H2O. (Lawrence Carpenter.)

Below, scientists used the remotely operated vehicles Jason and Medea to splice an abandoned submarine telephone cable into a termination frame, which acts as an undersea phone jack. Attached by an umbilical is a junction box, which serves as an electrical outlet for up to six scientific instruments.

Thomas Thompson crew members prepare to submerge H2O's first "customer," a package of instruments to record earthquake-generated seismic waves.

ROV Jason is deployed to plug instruments into the Hawaii-2 Observatory on the seafloor. (Julie Allen.)

WHOI Research Engineer Bob Petitt designed and built the complex communication and control system that routes signals into and out of individual instruments plugged into H2O. Above, Petitt tests the system with a call from R/V Thompson through the submarine cable to WHOI Senior Engineer Assistant John Bailey at the cable's terminus, a shorebased station in Makaha, Hawaii. (Alan Chave)