This wave glider helps scientists track the harbingers of earthquakes on the Mexican coast. The "high-tech surfboard" can be precisely navigated by satellite on land. The drive is the underwater part, which is connected by a special cable to the float. The moving wings use the wave energy and pull the slider forward.
For two weeks this November, the Wave Glider collected data from sensors deployed on the ocean floor off the Mexican coast. The sensors are part of a $ 6 million network that includes some 70 new seismometers and GPS stations on land and on the seabed. It was co-financed by Japan and Mexico. The collected seismic data should provide information, if one day a big earthquake threatens on the seabed.
Especially the coastal area around the so-called Guerrero gap is interesting for scientists. In this seismic "gap" there has been rest along a 130-kilometer stretch of coastline for over 100 years, while it is frequently quaking in the neighborhood. Seismologists fear that the accumulated pressure could build up a strong earthquake.
The surf tour with the glider will be repeated next year. Then the evaluation of the data should show if there are slow shifts in the seabed, which would suggest that energy builds up. Otherwise, the residents of Mexico could breathe a sigh of relief - for the time being. display
Photo: Liquid Robotics, A Boeing Company© science.de - Ruth Roebuck