Marine Geophysical Research

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 465–479 | Cite as

Compact high-resolution temperature loggers for measuring the thermal gradients of marine sediments

Original Research Paper


Currently, two major types of ship-operated underwater instruments are used for heat flow measurements including a Lister-type heat probe (LTHP) and small temperature loggers (STLs) that are attached to a solid-steel lance or a core barrel. In both operations, penetration friction heat introduces a transient disturbance to the temperature of the surrounding sediments. A pragmatic approach is to extrapolate a cylindrical temperature decay function to estimate the equilibrium ambient temperature (EAT) and equilibrium ambient temperature gradient (EATG) of the sediments from short temperature recordings. The extrapolated EAT and EATG will greatly affect the estimate of the base of the gas hydrate stability zone (BGHS). In order to achieve a better extrapolation of EAT, EATG, and 1-s temperature sampling requirements, compact (22.2 cm × 2.2 cm) high-resolution temperature loggers (CHTLs) have been designed to work with a sediment core barrel. The mechanical and electronic design of the CHTL is detailed in the text. With a 24-bit, low noise A/D converter embedded in the mix-signal microprocessor, including a highly stable reference resistor based ratiometric scheme, the CHTL is capable of resolving 0.1 m°C in the range of −1 to 25°C. It has a memory capacity of 4 Mbyte which can work continually up to 16 days with a 1-s sampling interval. From a data processing efficiency consideration, field experiments indicate that adopting short support fins to attach the CHTLs to a relatively small size core barrel is better than using high support fins. A similar approach such as extrapolating the cylindrical temperature decay function to estimate EAT, EATG can be obtained from regressing a direct calculated temperature gradient of short recorded data. The resulting EATG accuracy may be significantly improved through the application of the proposed correction formula and therefore is much better than that which is directly calculated from the extrapolated EATs.


Compact high-resolution temperature logger Equilibrium ambient temperature gradient BGHS 



We are indebted to the officers, crew, and shipboard technicians of the R/V Ocean Researcher I and S. D. Chiou of the Ocean Research Vessel Instrument Center for their professional assistance which made this experiment possible. We wish to thank L. Kubik for critical review of the earlier version of the manuscript. We would like to thank S. C. Lin for data collection and S. H. Lee for drafting. This research was supported by the Central Geological Survey of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Republic of China.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Oceanography, National Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan, ROC

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