We’ve just taken delivery of RV Investigator’s very own gravity meter. How cool is that!
This amazing piece of equipment will be permanently fitted to the ship and has its own gyroscopes, which allow the instrumentation to stay still while the ship rolls and pitches through the waves. This is important because the gravity meter is able to measure very small changes in gravity and we want to remove the roller coaster effect of the ocean!
We need to measure gravity at sea, because it tells us what lies beneath the sea floor and how the Earth’s tectonic plates have moved. Different kinds of rocks, for example volcanic or sedimentary, have a different gravity effect, the denser the rock the greater the gravity effect, and because of these differences, we can work out what the Earth’s continental and oceanic crust is made from.
Understanding how the Earth’s crust forms in the oceans is important because it helps us to discover where there are minerals and resources, and it also helps us to understand the changing dynamics of the ocean, like undersea earthquakes and tsunamis.
We’ve only mapped 12 per cent of the seafloor in Australia’s Exclusive Economic Zone and this will be the first permanently fitted gravity meter for Australia’s Marine National Facility research vessel, so we have a lot of work to do!
Check out the photos!