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Acoustic measurement of flow velocity in buoyant hydrothermal plumes


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Doppler measurement of the vetical component of flow velocity for the principal Grotto plume shown as isosurfaces at four velocities: 40cm/s (red), 30cm/s (yellow), 20cm/s (green), and 10cm/s (blue). Refer Ridge 2000 Events newsletter.
 
 
A method is developed for using multibeam sonar to map the flow velocity field of black smoker plumes. The method is used to obtain two-dimensional cross-sectional maps of vertical velocity, but is capable of mapping velocity in three dimensions. This is in contrast to conventional current meters, which measure only at several points and acoustic Doppler current profilers, whose diverging beams cannot
readily map the interior of a plume. Geometric corrections are used to estimate the vertical component of velocity, compensating for ambient current. The method is demonstrated using data from the main plume at the Grotto vent complex in the Main Endeavour Field, Juan de Fuca Ridge, and the errors due to noise, signal fluctuations, and fluctuations in plume structure are estimated. 
 
 

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