UniversitÓ degli Studi di Pavia

Centro Interdisciplinare di Bioacustica e Ricerche Ambientali

Via Taramelli 24 - 27100 Pavia - Italy
e-mail : cibra@unipv.it



SMO - Submarine Multidisciplinary Observatory - project funded by FIRB



CIBRA participates to this project associated to INFN-LNS laboratories located in Catania (Sicily, Italy). The project is headed by INFN-LNS with FIRB funding.
Gianni Pavan is associate researcher at INFN-LNS since 2003 for the the project NEMO (NEutrino Mediterranean Observatory) and the related subprojects like ONDE (Ocean Noise Detection Experiment) and now SMO.

The kick-off meeting of the project has been held in Catania, May 16-18, 2011.


The aims of SMO (Submarine Multidisciplinary Observatory) project is the realization of innovative submarine acoustic antennas, equipped with acoustic and electromagnetic sensors. The antennas will be permanently deployed at two distant sites offshore Catania and Capo Passero respectively (about 200 km distance one from each other). In both the locations the antennas will be connected to land station via electro-optical cables, that will be used both for power supplying and for the real-time data acquisition. The underwater devices that will be implemented and deployed in these two sites, will represent a significant development of the existing submarine infrastructures deployed in the area: these infrastructures are presently composed by the cables, land laboratories, submarine junction boxes and the SN-1 long term multi-parameters monitoring observatory, that will be improved with new sensors SN-1 has successfully operated in a three-years experiment, during which, it were connected in real-time to the north terminal of the Catania cable.
The sensors installed on the antennas will be: hydrophones for geophysical applications, electromagnetic sensors for detection of signals induced by large earthquakes, hydrophones for natural and bio-physical applications and oceanographic sensors for the monitoring of marine physical parameters. These new experimental devices, i.e. acoustic antennas and newly equipped SN-1 abyssal station will embrace three different scientific area: geophysics, high energy physics and bio-physics.
The geophysical applications are mainly related to the study of low frequency acoustic signals as possible tsunami precursors. Moreover a prototype of a tsunami early warning system will be developed, based on the direct measurement of tsunami-genic sources, generated tsunami waves and possible precursors (sound waves). The system will be able to use and automatically analysed the real-time hydro-acoustic measurements, to provide states of variable alert-level for coastal areas, also using appropriate numerical models for generation and propagation of tsunami waves. Moreover we will study the electromagnetic signals generated by large seismic events as possible precursors.
The physical investigation are devoted to the study of the acoustic detection of high energy astrophysics neutrinos. Moreover using the two antennas, far 200 km from each other and perfectly synchronized, it will be possible to study the noise levels in the Mediterranean and its possible causes, including human ones. The
bio-physical investigation are instead devoted to the study of marine mammals movements and behaviorr. Once again the two synchronised antennas, located, respectively, at the southern part of the Messina Strait and the Sicily Channel entrance, will allow to monitor, for the first time, the whales movements in two key areas for the understanding of their habits. The SMO antennas, then will form a unique and innovative tool, that will lead to relevant improvment with an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach.

Updated information on the SMO project are on the official website. A workshop on related acoustic and bioacoustic research will be held in Erice, Sicily, next October.






 Page compiled by Gianni Pavan, May 2011, updated April 2013.