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The instruments that form the Ocean Bottom Seismic Instrument Center are generally configured for either short or long period deployment experiments. Short period instruments are primarily designed for use in experiments involving an active source (e.g. air-guns) or passive listening at frequencies greater than 1 Hz. Long period instruments have been designed for extended-length deployments which record low frequency (<1 Hz) seismic energy from a passive source (e.g. earthquakes). However, instruments within the Center are not confined to a particular type of experiment and, subject to availability, can be used for any field program envisioned.

The Center also has access to variety of other instruments that may be available for use such as instruments from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and University of Texas - Austin.