In an effort to better understand the coastal processes responsible for the burial and exposure of small objects on the seafloor, the Office of Naval Research is sponsoring the Mine Burial Program. Among the field areas chosen for this program is the site of the Martha's Vineyard Coastal Observatory (MVCO), a permanent instrumented node in 12 m of water about 500 m off the southern shore of Martha?s Vineyard. In support of the ONR program, several site surveys of the MVCO area have been conducted (see Goff et al); here we report the result of the most recent of these surveys, a very high-resolution multibeam survey aimed at establishing a detailed base map for the region and providing a baseline from which subsequent surveys can measure seafloor change In late July we conducted a five day survey of an approximately 3 x 5 km area surrounding the MVCO node using a Reson 8125 focused multibeam sonar aboard the SAIC survey vessel Ocean Explorer. The 8125 is a newly developed multibeam sonar that operates at 455 kHz and uses dynamic focusing to compensate for the curvature of the wavefront in the near-field. By using a relatively long array, the system can achieve very high spatial resolution (0.5 degree beam width) and with the dynamic focusing, can operate in the near field. The real constraint on resolution using this system is the ability to position the soundings and thus three kinematic DGPS base stations were established on Martha?s Vineyard and three kinematic receivers were used on the survey vessel. The kinematic GPS positioning is also critical to the ability to do repeat surveys with an accuracy high enough to resolve small (less than 10 cm) seafloor changes. Also to aid in our ability to accurately position repeat surveys, divers jetted sonar reflectors into the seafloor to act as fiducials. A super high-resolution (4 m overlap) survey was conducted in a small area surrounding the MVCO node and mine burial sites, a slightly lower resolution survey (12 to 25 m overlap) in a box approximately 1 x 1 km surrounding the ?target box? and a lower resolution survey (25 to 40 m line overlap) in a 3 x 5 km region surrounding the 1 x 1 km box. The Reson 8125 produced approximately 1 gigabyte of data per hour. The bathymetric resolution we were able to achieve was beyond our expectations. The node site and all diver-emplaced reflectors were clearly identified Most amazingly, we are able to resolve fields of individual ripples that are less than 2 cm height. Of particular relevance to the mine burial program was our ability to resolve an instrumented mine that had been deployed earlier by NRL. This mine is buried in a scour depression and is only a few centimeters proud above the base of the depression.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

EOS Transactions, American Geophysical Union


83, Issue 47

Conference Date

Dec 6 - Dec 10, 2002

Publisher Place

San Francisco, CA, USA


American Geophysical Union Publications

Document Type