Buoy platform development for observation of tsunami and crustal deformation

Narumi Takahashi, Yasuhisa Ishihara, Tatsuya Fukuda, Hiroshi Ochi, Jun’ichiro Tahara, Takami Mori, Mitsuyasu Deguchi, Motoyuki Kido, Yusaku Ohta, Ryota Hino, Katsuhiko Mutoh, Gosei Hashimoto, Osamu Motohashi, Yoshiyuki Kaneda

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


We constructed a buoy system for real-time observations of tsunamis and crustal deformation in collaboration with the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Tohoku University, and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The most important characteristics of our system are resistance to the strong sea currents in the large-earthquake rupture zone around Japan (e.g., the Kuroshio maximum speed >5 knots), and the capability to transmit data in real-time. Our system has four units: (1) a buoy station with a GPS/Acoustic station serving as a central base, (2) a wire-end station (WES) 1,000m below the sea surface that serves as a staging base, (3) a pressure seafloor unit (PSU) comprising a pressure sensor, and (4) six GPS/Acoustic transponders to measure crustal deformation. The pressure data used to detect tsunamis and the vertical component of crustal deformation are sent to the land station via the wire-end and buoy stations at intervals of 1 h in normal mode and 15 s in tsunami mode. The data measured between the buoy and six transponders are also sent to the land station at 1-week intervals. The Iridium satellite is used for data transmission of all data to land station. The dynamic range for pressure observations is +/-8m with a fine resolution of 2mm, and the accuracy of the crustal deformation measurements is less than 1m. We tuned the system for an observation period of 5 months and carried out a sea trial. The length of the observation period influences the total system due to the weight of the battery. We rearranged the geometry of the total system to new one with heavier weight and a lot of batteries on the buoy considering long period observation and decided upon a slack ratio of 1.6. In addition, it is important for a long observation period to minimize electrical consumption. We used double pulses for acoustic data transmission between the PSU and WES. The time difference between two pulses indicates the observed pressure value. For the PSU, we designed a tsunami mode on the basis of data from the tsunami generated by the 2011 earthquake off Tohoku, which were recorded by cabled network system data and offline bottompressure data. The results confirmed that a tsunami can be detected even if the first tsunami signals include strong-motion signals. In this case, the tsunami was detected 10–20 s after the first seismic arrival. During sea trials, we successfully tested the tsunami mode we designed. We succeeded real-time observation of pressure and crustal deformation using buoy system in strong sea current speed area for 5 months. However, there are some issues to be resolved at this moment. For acoustic data transmission, 1ms step difference of the detection of acoustic signals at the WES, wrong detection of the multiple phases are issues to be resolved. We will consider assigned mapping of transmitted data to the time difference of the double pulses and take measures on the PSU and WES. In addition, we consider strategy to reduce slack ratio in the future. For data transmission from the WES to the buoy station, we experienced electrical unhealthy of the wire rope due to damages by the fisheries activities and the torsion brought by rotation of the buoy. We consider the countermeasure to reduce the rotation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Symposium on Geodesy for Earthquake and Natural Hazards (GENAH) - Proceedings of the International Symposium on Geodesy for Earthquake and Natural Hazards (GENAH)
EditorsManabu Hashimoto
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9783319397672
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventProceedings of the International Symposium on Geodesy for Earthquake and Natural Hazards, GENAH 2014 - Matsushima, Japan
Duration: 2014 Jul 222014 Jul 26

Publication series

NameInternational Association of Geodesy Symposia
ISSN (Print)0939-9585


ConferenceProceedings of the International Symposium on Geodesy for Earthquake and Natural Hazards, GENAH 2014


  • Buoy
  • Crustal deformation
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Tsunami


Dive into the research topics of 'Buoy platform development for observation of tsunami and crustal deformation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this