R/V Falkor (too) has three multibeam sonar systems, a number of bottom and midwater sonars working at multiple frequencies, and non-sonar acoustic devices. These systems provide the vessel the capability to map the seafloor at any depth and at high resolution, measure the speed and direction of water currents up to 1000 meters deep, and measure water column bioacoustic data.

Mapping Systems

EM124, EM712 and EM2040
The EM124, EM712, and EM2040 MKII are used for mapping deep, middle-depth and shallow water, respectively. The EM124 is 0.5 x 1 degree and is typically used to map in water from 1000 to 8,000+ meters deep while the EM712 is 0.25 x 0.5 degree and is suited for 30 meters to ~1500+ meter depths and the EM2040 MKII is used to about 400 meters.

Maximum survey speed is typically about 6 knots though this speed may be reduced by weather conditions or ambient noise and quality may degrade toward the upper end of this range.

Mapping Software
R/V Falkor (too) typically collects multibeam data using Kongsberg’s Seafloor Information System (SIS) software. For editing and working with data the vessel also has licenses for CARIS HIPS, QPS Fledermaus, QPS Qimera, QPS FMMidwater, Kongsberg Ksync, and ESRI ArcGIS. Survey planning is typically done in HYPACK or in SIS.


The Simrad EK80 mid-water echosounder is a fisheries sonar that may be operated at 18, 38, 70, 120, 200, 333 kHz. If the sonar is to be quantitative, it must be calibrated at the beginning of the cruise. This process can take up to 12 hours and needs to be conducted in protected waters within a specific depth range. The system can typically be used qualitatively without calibration.

The Kongsberg EA640 is a full ocean depth single beam (12kHz) echo sounder.

Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers

R/V Falkor (too) has a Workhorse 300 kHz ADCP and an Ocean Surveyor 38 kHz ADCP, both by Teledyne RDI. Data collection is typically with the UHDAS acquisition system. The Workhorse 300 provides higher-resolution current data up to about 150 meters deep. The Ocean Surveyor 38 provides current data up to about 1,000 meters under favorable conditions. There is also a Kongsberg EC150 ADCP that uses a separate acquisition system that is in the process of being integrated.

Ultra Short Baseline (USBL) Acoustic Positioning System

Sonardyne Ranger 2
Sonardyne Ranger 2 USBL System (Datasheet)
Sonardyne HPT7000 Transceiver (Datasheet) on Through Hull Deployment Machine
USBL beacons:

  • Sonardyne Nano Transponder with 300 meter depth sensor (Datasheet), 500m max depth – (2 units)
  • Sonardyne WSM 6 (Datasheet), directional, 4,000 meter max depth – (4 units)
  • Sonardyne DPT Compatt 6 (Datasheet), directional, 5,000 meter max depth – (1 unit – primarily used for system calibration)
  • Sonardyne Type 8271 WSM Transponder (Datasheet), omni-directional, 1,000 meter max depth – (1 unit)
  • Please note that some beacons may be in use and not all beacons may be available at all times.

Kongsberg HiPAP
Kongsberg HiPAP 501
The system is available to use with Science Party provided beacons. Schmidt Ocean Institute does not own any HiPAP beacons.

Other Non-Sonar Acoustic Systems

Three hydrophones
Two sound velocity probes