Acoustic Imaging &
Computer Visualization of Seafloor
Hydrothermal Flow




This article describes the beginnings of an exploration of what numerical simulation models tell us about what the acoustic data can be expected to detect. In other words, we are determining what we potentially can see so we can limit interpretations that attempt to the possible.

Rona, P. A., Bemis, K. G., Jones, C. D, Jackson, D. R., Mitsuzawa, K., and Silver, D., Entrainment and bending in a major hydrothermal plume, Main Endeavour Field, Juan de Fuca Ridge, Geophysical Research Letters, 33, L19313, doi:10.1029/2006GL027211, 2006.
This is an application of our basic acoustic imaging methods to determine plume centerlines and expansion rates. We show that seafloor hydrothermal plumes have variable entrainment rates and attribute this to the effects of variable ambient currents driven by a tidal sloshing and rudge interaction.


Santilli, K., K. Bemis, D. Silver, P. Rona, and J. Dastur, Generating realistic images from the hydrothermal plume data, IEEE Visualization 2004 Proceedings, pp. 91-98, 2004.
A recognition that people see with light while sonar "sees" with sound led us to revise the process. That is, this project uses sonar imaging data to predict what really big lights would reveal if they were possible on the deep ocean seafloor. Images that clearly convey the data's message (plume entrainment and bending) are an important result of our improved understanding of the sonar data and imaging process.


Jackson, D. R., C. D. Jones, P. A. Rona and K. G. Bemis, Acoustic Measurement of Flow at Grotto Vent, Main Endeavour Field, Juan de Fuca Ridge, G3, 4(11), 1095, 1-12, 2003.
As a compliment to the acoustic imaging, we have developed an acoustic Doppler technique to measure flow rates. This allows us to quantify volumw fluxes. Combined with the acoustic imaging results on entrainment, the results of our initial use of a new Doppler technique confirm the conceptual model of plumes merging, which results in contraction and an increase in speeding (conceptual model first introduced in Bemis et al., 2002).

Rona, P., Jackson, D., Bemis, K., Jones, C., Mitsuzawa, K., Palmer, D., and Silver, D. A new dimension in investigation of seafloor hydrothermal plumes, Ridge 2000 Events, April 2003.
A preliminary presentation of the 2000 field season results.


Bemis, K. G., P. A. Rona, D. Jackson, C. Jones, D. Silver, K. Mitsuzawa, A comparison of black smoker hyrothermal plume behaviour at Monolith Vent and at Clam Acres vent field: dependence on source configuration, Marine Geophys. Res., 23, 81-96, 2002.
An attempt to compare the results of our 1990 and 1996 field seasons led to a new conceptual model of plumes: at the levels (5-10m above the vent to 30+m above the vent) that a sonar sees a hydrothermal plumes there is not a one-to-one correspondence of plume and vent, but rather individual plumes from multiple chimneys combine to form one merged plume. The literature on black smokers has noted that the Juan de Fuca Ridge is characterized by isolated single chimneys. The unique nature of the later shows the behaviour of a single plume, whereas the plumes of the former show the affects of multiple merging sources. The methodology for the data anaylsis and comparison are described in the companion paper below (Rona et al., 2002)

Rona, P. A. K. G. Bemis, D. Silver and C. D. Jones, Acoustic Imaging, visualizaation and quantification of buoyant hydrothermal plumes in the ocean, Marine Geophys. Res., 23, 147-168, 2002.
This paper outlines the basic methodology of acoustic imaging, with a focus on the visiometric techniques we have developed. Visiometric techniques combine visualization and quantification.

Rona, P. A., D. R. Jackson, K. G. Bemis, C. D. Jones, K. Mitsuzawa, D. R. Palmer, and D. Silver, Acoustic advances study of sea floor hydrothermal flow (feature article), Eos, Trans. AGU, 83 (44): 497 and 501-502, October 29, 2002.
A preliminary presentation of the 2000 field season results.


Bemis, K. G., D. Silver, P. A. Rona, and C. Feng, Case study: a methodology for plume visualization with application to real-time acquisition and navigation, IEEE Visualization 2000, IEEE, 481-484+595, 2000.
This study was an exploration of the differences between most numerical simulations of plumes (especially at that time) and our acoustic imaging data. In particular the size, scope and resolution of the data sets differ making comparisons tricky. Our techniques show an approach of reduced quantities (such as centerlines) that can be robustly compared.


Feng, C., D. Silver, K. G. Bemis, P. Rona, Acoustic Imaging manual: object segmentation and feature quantification, Center for Advanced Information Precessing, Rutgers University, Technical Report CAIP-TR-242, 55 p, 1999.
Documentation of the object segmentation and feature quantification modules developed for use in the AVS platform including several centerline extraction techniques.


Rona, P. A., K. G. Bemis, D. Kenchammana-Hosekote, and D. Silver, Acoustic Imaging and Visualization of plumes discharging from the black smoker vents on the deep seafloor, IEEE Visualization '98, IEEE, 475-478, 1998.
The results of the initial application of object segmentation techniques to acoustic imaging data.


Rona, P. A., D. R. Jackson, T. Wen, C. Jones, K. Mitsuzawa, K. G. Bemis, J. G. Dworski. Acoustic mapping of diffuse flow at a seafloor hydrothermal site: Monolith Vent, Juan de Fuca Ridge. Geophysical Research Letters, 1997.
A preliminary presentation of the diffuse flow mapping technique using an imaging sonar.

Rona, P. A., D. R. Jackson, T. Wen, C. Jones, K. G. Bemis and K. Mitsuzawa, Acoustic Imaging of black smoker plumes and diffuse flow: a new method to study and monitor hydrothermal flow regimes. JAMSTEC Journal of Deep Sea Research, Special Volume, Deep Sea Research in Subduction Zones, Spreading Centers and Backarc Basins, 1997.
A preliminary presentation of the 1996 field season results.


Bemis, K. G., R. P. Von Herzen, and M. J. Mottl. Geothermal heat flux from hydrothermal plumes on the Juan de Fuca Ridge, J. Geophys. Res., 98, 6351-6365, 1993.
This study presents some of the first heat flux measurements for the Cleft and Endeavour segments of the Juan de Fuca Ridge. A new technique estimates heat flux from the vertical variation in plume temperatures using both numerical and graphical fitting of simultaneous measurements at multiple levels.


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