Single and multibeam sonar

Single (left) and multibeam (right) echo sounding of the seafloor. Single beam systems typically have beam widths of 10-30 degrees and estimate depth by measuring the shortest slant range to the seafloor within the main beam. Multibeam (swath sonar) systems provide a series of slant range and elevation angle estimates along a fixed azimuth. This method is preferred because it measures an entire area rather than a single line on the seafloor. (University of New Brunswick) Image courtesy of Submarine Ring of Fire 2002, NOAA/OER.

Related Links

Submarine Ring of Fire 2002

Submarine Ring of Fire 2002: Seafloor Mapping

Submarine Ring of Fire 2003: Seafloor Mapping

NOAA Ocean Explorer Gallery