Submarine Multidisciplinary Observatory

Project Description
Listening to the sound of the sea is an intense emotion. However the sound that we can hear from shore or aborad a boat, are just a little fraction of the thousands of “voices” of the sea.
Together with natural sounds, manmade sounds since about a century are an important part of the sound of the sea. Acoustic noise monitoring and the study of its variations as a function of time is a useful research tool to study marine environment and evaluate the “health of seas”.

Since about ten years, scientists from three Italian Institues INFN, INGV, CIBRA, and University “Sapienza” of Roma, carry out acoustic monitoring of sea with a new methodology: the installation of submarine microphones (hydrophones) antenna in deep sea, more than 2000 m water depth, off Eastern Sicilian Coast. These antennas detect acoustic signals that, using optical fibre cables, are continuously transmitted to shore where they are recorded and analyses. This experimental technique, developed by INFN to permit identification of subatomic particle (neutrinos) of astrophysical origin, has important follow-up in biology and geophysics.

The SMO Collaboiration, formed by INFN, University Sapienza of Rome, University Roma 3, INGV, and CIBRA is building a new acoustic antenna to be deployed at 3500 m water depth, off Capo Passero (South East Sicily) to study, with sensitive acoustic devices, deep sea sounds.