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USGS AWARDS $575,000 SONAR CONTRACT TO MASSACHUSETTS COMPANY

 USGS AWARDS $575,000 SONAR CONTRACT TO MASSACHUSETTS COMPANY
 WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- A contract for $575,500 for a mid-range sidescan sonar system for mapping the ocean floor has been awarded by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Department of the Interior, to a Massachusetts company.
 The contract was awarded to Datasonics, Inc., of Cataumet, Mass., for delivery in early summer of 1992.
 The system will be used primarily by USGS scientists at the Branch of Atlantic Marine Geology in Woods Hole, Mass., and the Branch of Pacific Marine Geology in Menlo Park, Calif., said Brad Butman, chief of the branch in Woods Hole. In addition, the USGS may carry out cooperative studies with scientists at other federal and state agencies, universities and other oceanographic institutions.
 Sonar images produced by this system will be the marine geologist's equivalent of aerial photographs of land areas. The images are designed to provide scientists and industry with a remote mapping capability of the ocean floor.
 Using another sonar system called GLORIA (Geologic Long Range Inclined Asdic) in conjunction with the British Institute of Oceanic Sciences, the USGS has already completed sonar mapping of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in water depths greater than about 200 meters (650 feet) off the coasts of all the states, plus some areas off island territories. The EEZ, proclaimed by President Reagan in 1983, gives the United States exclusive jurisdiction over resources out to 200 nautical miles off shore.
 The mid-range sonar system provides much greater resolution than GLORIA -- resolving objects as small as 1 meter (3.3 feet) in size compared to about 50 meters (165 feet) for GLORIA, Butman said. The new system, however, images a swath only 5 kilometers (2.7 miles) in width at one time compared to 45 kilometers (28 miles) for GLORIA.
 The GLORIA system cannot be used in shallow waters, he added. The Datasonics system will fill a gap in the USGS sea-floor mapping capability between the reconnaissance-scale long-range GLORIA system in deep waters and other shorter-range systems that provide sonar images of shallow near-shore areas. The new system will be used to examine in more detail features mapped by the reconnaissance GLORIA surveys.
 The Datasonics system will be tested immediately after delivery, Butman said. Surveys planned over the next year with the new system will be at the Municipal Deep Water Dump 106 off the mid-Atlantic states to examine sea-floor processes operating there and to provide images to guide observations and sampling by the submersible ALVIN; on the Gorda Ridge off the Pacific Northwest coast to examine formation of massive sulfide deposits; and off the coast of Georgia to examine formation of deep-sea gas deposits.
 The studies of Dump Site 106 are conducted cooperatively with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Undersea Research Program, and the studies off Georgia are in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy.
 -0- 1/16/92
 /CONTACT: Don Finley of the U.S. Geological Survey, 703-648-4460/ CO: U.S. Geological Survey; Datasonics, Inc. ST: District of Columbia, Massachusetts IN: SU: CON


DC -- DC008 -- 0451 01/16/92 11:11 EST
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Date:Jan 16, 1992
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