In June and August of 1992, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) conducted geophysical surveys to investigate the shallow geologic framework from Lake Pontchartrain, Louisiana, to Mobile Bay, Alabama. This work was conducted onboard the Argonne National Laboratory's R/V ERDA-1 as part of the Mississippi/Alabama Pollution Project. This report is part of a series to digitally archive the legacy analog data collected from the Mississippi-Alabama SHelf (MASH). The MASH data rescue project is a cooperative effort by the USGS and the Minerals Management Service (MMS).
A standardized naming convention was established to allow for better management of scanned trackline images within the MASH data rescue project. Each cruise received a unique field activity ID based on the year the data were collected, the first two digits of the survey vessel name, and the number of cruises made (to date) by that vessel that year (i.e. 92ER2 represents the second cruise made by the R/V ERDA-1 in 1992.) The new field activity IDs 92ER2 and 92ER4 presented in this report were originally referred to as ERDA 92-2 and ERDA 92-4 at the USGS in St. Petersburg, FL, and 92010 and 92037 at the USGS in Woods Hole, MA. A table showing the naming convention lineage for cruise IDs in the MASH data rescue series is included as a PDF. This report serves as an archive of high resolution scanned Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) and Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) images of the original boomer paper records, navigation files, trackline maps, Geographic Information System (GIS) files, cruise logs, and formal Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC) metadata for cruises 92ER2 and 92ER4.
The boomer system uses an acoustic energy source called a plate, which consists of capacitors charged to a high voltage and discharged through a transducer in the water. The source is towed on a sled, at sea level, and when discharged emits a short acoustic pulse, or shot, which propagates through the water and sediment column. The acoustic energy is reflected at density boundaries (such as the seafloor or sediment layers beneath the seafloor), detected by the hydrophone receiver, and the amplitude of the reflected energy is recorded by an Edward P. Curley Lab (EPC) thermal plotter. This process is repeated at timed intervals (for example, 0.5 s) and recorded for specific intervals of time (for example, 100 ms). The timed intervals are also referred to as the shot interval or fire rate. On analog records, the recorded interval is referred to as the sweep, which is the amount of time the recorder stylus takes to sweep from the top of the record to the bottom of the record, thereby recording the amplitude of the reflected energy of one shot. In this way, consecutive recorded shots produce a two-dimensional (2-D) vertical image of the shallow geologic structure beneath the ship track.
Many of the geophysical data collected by the USGS prior to the late 1990s were recorded in analog format and stored as paper copies. Scientists onboard made hand-written annotations onto these records to note latitude and longitude, time, line number, course heading, and geographic points of reference. Each paper roll typically contained numerous survey lines and could reach more than 90 ft in length. All rolls are stored at the USGS FISC-St. Petersburg, FL. To preserve the integrity of these records and improve accessibility, analog holdings were converted to digital files.