The path to COVIS: A review of acoustic imaging of hydrothermal flow regimes

Karen G. Bemis, Deborah Silver, Guangyu Xu, Russ Light, Darrell Jackson, Christopher Jones, Sedat Ozer, Li Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Acoustic imaging of hydrothermal flow regimes started with the incidental recognition of a plume on a routine sonar scan for obstacles in the path of the human-occupied submersible ALVIN. Developments in sonar engineering, acoustic data processing and scientific visualization have been combined to develop technology which can effectively capture the behavior of focused and diffuse hydrothermal discharge. This paper traces the development of these acoustic imaging techniques for hydrothermal flow regimes from their conception through to the development of the Cabled Observatory Vent Imaging Sonar (COVIS). COVIS has monitored such flow eight times a day for several years. Successful acoustic techniques for estimating plume entrainment, bending, vertical rise, volume flux, and heat flux are presented as is the state-of-the-art in diffuse flow detection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-176
Number of pages18
JournalDeep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography
StatePublished - Nov 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oceanography


  • Acoustic imaging
  • Grotto
  • Heat conduction
  • Heat transport
  • Hydrothermal fields
  • Juan de Fuca Ridge
  • Main Endeavour Field
  • Mid-ocean ridges
  • Pacific Ocean
  • Visualization


Dive into the research topics of 'The path to COVIS: A review of acoustic imaging of hydrothermal flow regimes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this