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1979: Vol. LVI, No. 1

Sea Beam, Multi-Beam Echo-Sounding in "Jean Charcot" - Description, Evaluation and First Results

August 7, 2015


In 1976, CNEXO (Centre National pour l'Exploitation des Océans) purchased a Sea Beam system, a 16-beam echo-sounder, from GIC (General Instrument Corporation), Harris A.S.W. Division, Westwood, Massachusetts. This sounder was installed on the N.O. Jean Charcot and tested in the Spring of 1977. As opposed to a classical sounder which obtains only one bathymetric profile along a ship's track, this new type of sounder covers a swath of sea floor 3/4 the water depth wide (4 500 m for a 6 000 m depth) [1]. Bathymetric data are processed in real time by a mini-computer efficiently programmed to plot bathymetric contour lines at a contour interval and a scale set by the operator. Data are also recorded on magnetic tape for off-line processing. The present paper presents the first results obtained with the Sea Beam during a 4-week evaluation cruise in April and May 1977, analyzed with the advantage of extensive further experience with the system. It explores also the potential of the Sea Beam for cartography and structural analysis.