UW Today

Ocean Observatories Initiative


April 30, 2015

Seafloor sensors record possible eruption of underwater volcano

sensor on ocean floor

Sensors on the ocean’s floor installed by UW researchers show that late on April 23, a seismic event took place on the 3,000-foot underwater volcano off Oregon’s coast.


September 19, 2014

Join expedition online: UW students help install cabled deep-sea observatory

octopus near instrument

UW students have had a unique experience off the coast of Washington and Oregon helping scientists and engineers complete construction of the world’s largest deep-ocean observatory.


March 13, 2014

Tethered robots tested for Internet-connected ocean observatory

people on boat deploying instrument

The UW this fall will complete installation of a huge high-tech ocean observatory. Dozens of instruments will connect to power and Internet cables on the seafloor, but the observatory also includes a new generation of ocean explorers: robots that will zoom up and down through almost two miles of ocean to monitor the water conditions and marine life above.


September 18, 2013

Cables, instruments installed in the deep sea off Pacific Northwest coast

instrument on seafloor

In a seven-week cruise this past summer, oceanographers and students laid 14 miles of extension cable and installed about a dozen instruments for a historic deep-sea observatory.


July 1, 2013

Work this summer extends reach of cabled deep-ocean observatory

Map of the Summer 2013 cruise.

A UW research vessel leaves July 2 for six weeks at sea, during which oceanographers will install miles of cable for a new type of deep-sea observatory.


May 22, 2013

New documentary on cabled ocean observatory airs on UWTV

smoking caldera

A new half-hour documentary about a UW research expedition to Axial Seamount, an underwater volcano off the Washington coast, airs tonight at 9:30 p.m. on UWTV.


April 15, 2013

Preparing to install the world’s largest underwater observatory

Applied Physics Laboratory engineer Mike Harrington leads development of the science junction boxes for the underwater laboratory..

Engineers at the UW’s Applied Physics Laboratory are under pressure to build and test parts for installation this summer in the world’s largest deep-ocean observatory off the Washington and Oregon coasts.


December 12, 2012

Award recognizes UW oceanographer’s talent for engaging public

Drumheller Fountain and Gerberding Hall on the UW campus.

The American Geophysical Union has presented its top prize for engaging the public in science to UW’s John Delaney.


July 26, 2012

Underwater ‘electrical outlets’ put in place for cabled ocean observatory project

1A marks the first node installed, at Hydrate Ridge. 1C and 1D indicate the Endurance Array site. The placeholder node, in the middle of the Juan de Fuca Plate, is 5A. Node drawings courtesy of L-3 MariPro.

The first U.S. cabled ocean observatory reached a milestone on July 14 with the installation of a node 9,500 feet deep off the coast of Oregon. Like a giant electrical outlet on the seafloor that also provides Internet connectivity, the node was spliced into a network of cable segments totalling some 560 miles that were…


June 12, 2012

Novel scientific equipment will unlock ocean secrets for decades — with slide show

The shallow profiler will float to the surface and get pulled back down to the floating platform by a winch.

University of Washington engineers and scientists are one step closer to deploying sophisticated equipment that will collect important information about ocean properties like currents and temperature and send the information via the Internet in real time to scientists around the world.


June 11, 2012

New research to help scientists better predict underwater volcanic eruptions

A snow blower vent at the Axial Seamount released microorganisms that are believed to bloom after an eruption.

Axial Seamount, an undersea volcano, gave warning signals hours before its eruption, scientists say in three papers published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience.


July 22, 2011

The cable has landed: Ocean science history in the making — with slideshow

The two cables of the Regional Scale Nodes observatory involve a northern segment (pink) to Axial Seamount and a southern segment (mostly green) to Hydrate Ridge with a loop back on the continental shelf. Circles represent nodes where it will be possible to connect sensors and instruments to the cable.

Submarine cables for the nations first regional cabled ocean observatory, a project led by the University of Washington, made landfall last week on the Oregon coast.


August 19, 2010

Surf your way to a deep-ocean research expedition

Journey 300 miles off the Washington-Oregon coast and dive nearly a mile deep into the ocean as scientists and 20 students use underwater robots to explore, map and sample methane ice deposits, an underwater volcano and seafloor hot springs spewing water up to 570 degrees F.


September 2, 2009

Fact sheet: UW receives largest-ever federal award to construct ocean observatory off the Pacific Northwest

Note: This fact sheet provides additional information about the Regional Scale Nodes project that is receiving money from the National Science Foundation through the Consortium for Ocean Leadership.


August 21, 2008

Underwater scout: New robot searches out best locations for components of undersea lab

Once launched, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Sentry operates without being tethered to the ship. It is preprogrammed for the areas it is to map but can operate independently to navigate around cliffs, basins and other terrain it encounters.

Like a deep-sea bloodhound, Sentry — the newest in an elite group of unmanned submersibles able to operate on their own in demanding and rugged environments — has helped scientists pinpoint optimal locations for two observation sites of a pioneering seafloor laboratory being planned off Washington and Oregon.


October 18, 2007

Delaney to speak on ‘environmental renaissance’

John Delaney, the UW oceanographer who is leading the effort to build a cabled underwater observatory off the Washington and Oregon coasts, will speak on Tuesday, Oct.


May 24, 2007

New hires, planning under way for proposed $130 million ocean observatory

Peter Barletto, who has more than three decades of experience with submarine cable systems and networks, started work at the University of Washington Monday, joining the project team tasked with developing detailed engineering specifications for a cabled underwater research facility to be built off the coast of Washington and Oregon.


May 25, 2006

Proposed budget includes money for cabled observatory off Washington

With $150 million in President Bush’s proposed budget to install a cabled seafloor observatory off Washington and Oregon, a planning session is being convened June 5 for UW faculty and departments to learn how they might take advantage of this new facility for earth and ocean research and education.