Since 2010 the team at MOSPA have undertaken extensive sidescan sonar and multibeam surveys in the marine areas of the Gulf. Recent survey to the northwest of Qatar led to the identification of more than 100 anomalies, including numerous artificial reefs, debris and several wrecks associated with spreads of either ballast or cargo.
Data lines are joined to form a mosaic of the seabed
One site in particular, thought to be a spread of wreckage based on the sonar images, was revealed to be a large artificial reef made up of metal frameworks; a prime example of the importance of ground-truthing anomalies identified through geophysics data. Most of the sites were ground-truthed by divers in order to characterise their nature. Other anomalies, less obviously man made, were also investigated.
The fine resolution data reveals a wealth of information about the character of the sea bed within the survey area, from broad topographical features such as rocky protrusions and sediment basins to small sand ripples and clear indicators of directional sediment transport patterns.
Our marine geophysics services include:
Data analysis and interpretation for Environmental Impact assessments
Seabed Characterisation Assessments (SCA)
Wreck surveys using sidescan sonar, magnetometer or multibeam
Submerged landscape surveys and Seabed Characterisation surveys using sub-bottom profiler, sidescan sonar or multibeam
The best interpretation of anomalies identified by marine geophysics are made when multiple data collection platforms are used, and anomalies can be compared between various datasets. The figure to the left shows Gulf bathymetry overlain with sidescan sonar transects
The mosaic of sidescan sonar lines show damage done to the seabed by trawling. This affects not only archaeology but also local habitats. Such practices are now illegal in Qatar.
The resolution of data taken for archaeological research can also be used for other purposes, such as environmental survey and monitoring.