Engineering assistant Rob Handy handles a line during recovery of an ocean bottom seismometer (OBS) aboard R/V Atlantis in January 2009. The OBS was just one of 41 deployed along the Quebrada, Discovery, and Gofar transform faults at the East Pacific Rise, that have been recording earthquakes over the past year. This area is known to have large earthquakes — greater than magnitude 5. Hundreds of earthquakes occur every day around the world, most of them underneath the oceans, while the vast majority of instruments used to record earthquakes are on land. As a result, advances in understanding basic earthquake processes have been limited by the available data. Chief scientist Jeff McGuire and his colleagues are using the instruments — deployed at depths of 2500-4200 meters — to gain a better understanding of earthquakes.
(Photo by Jeff McGuire, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)