18 ocean bottom seismometers are to be deployed to the Atlantic Ocean floor hundreds of kilometres off the Irish coast in the coming days.
Over the next two years the seismometers, part of the SEAS-SEIS project, will collect data to try to reveal more about the nature and history of the ocean floor along the coast of Ireland.
The ocean territory of this country is 10 times the size of its landmass, but much of that area has not been explored.
"There are geological, oceanographic, and biological processes that interact on a daily basis in this vast territory but, until now, have been poorly understood due to a lack of observational equipment," said Professor Chris Bean, Senior Professor of Geophysics and Director of the DIAS School of Cosmic Physics.
"For the first time, through the SEA-SEIS project we will be able to make long-term direct observations of the interactions between our oceans and solid Earth in this region."
The seismometers will log tiny vibrations in the Earth generated by seismic waves that are caused by ocean waves and earthquakes.
By reading the signals, experts will be able to produce a 3D scan of what is under the Earth's crust.
Not only will the entire offshore area of Ireland will be covered, but some sensors will also be dropped in the water of UK and Iceland.
The project is being led by Dr. Sergei Lebedev from the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies (DIAS).
The placement of the devices will happen over the next three weeks and they will be deployed from the RV Celtic Explorer, the Marine Institute's research vessel which is due to depart from Cobh later.