NEPTUNE in the NE Pacific

NEPTUNE sites include installations on:

Site List

Middle Valley

Not yet instrumented

Depth: 2400 m
Setting: Seismically active area on the northern end of the Juan de Fuca ridge
Studies: Plate tectonics, seismicity, hydrothermal vent systems and ecosystems, mid-ocean ridges

Folger Passage

Depths: 23-100 m
Setting: Continental Shelf
Studies: Ocean-land interactions, coastal processes, plankton, fish, marine mammals and other organisms


Depth: 2200-2400 m
Setting: Mid-ocean ridge
Studies: Plate tectonics, seismicity, volcanism, flow over rough topography, plume dynamics, hydrothermal vent systems and ecosystems

Clayoquot Slope

Depth: 1250 m
Setting: Continental slope
Studies: Gas hydrates, seafloor fluids and gases, Cascadia margin, earthquakes, deep-sea organisms

Cascadia Basin

Depth: 2660 m
Setting: Abyssal plain
Studies: Ocean crust, hydrology, geochemistry, tsunamis, abyssal plain, benthic ecosystems  

Barkley Canyon

Depth: 400-985 m
Setting: Shelf/slope break; submarine canyon
Studies: Gas hydrates, sediment dynamics, upwelling, plankton, productivity


NEPTUNE in the NE Pacific Observatory Map

The North East Pacific Time-series Underwater Networked Experiments (NEPTUNE) observatory is located off the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The subsea infrastructure, an 840 km loop of fibre optic cable connected to instruments, enables scientists to study phenomena through continuous long-term, high temporal resolution observations not afforded by traditional ship-based ocean exploration. By co-locating instruments of different types, researchers can study interactions among geological, chemical, physical, and biological processes that drive the dynamic earth-ocean system. The network spans diverse environments ranging from the outer coast of Vancouver Island (Folger Passage) to a mid-ocean ridge (Endeavour Segment of the Juan de Fuca Ridge), providing scientists a unique platform to investigate interactions between related processes observed in different setting across the network. The shore station at Port Alberni on Vancouver Island sends the collected data via fibre optic cable to the University of Victoria. The collection of data began in December 2009 and over 130 instruments on the NEPTUNE observatory are now sending real-time data over the Internet.

Data from the Line P time series and Ocean Station Papa are also available through the Ocean Networks Canada data search. Ocean Station Papa (50.00°'N, 145.00'°W, depth 4220 m) was first operated as an ocean weather station by the United States Coast Guard beginning in December 1949. Starting in December 1950,  Canadian weatherships occupied the site and began to take routine oceanographic measurements in addition to collecting meteorological data. In August 1981, the Institute of Ocean Sciences, part of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada, began taking shipboard measurements along Line P, a series of sampling stations beginning on the continental shelf and ending at Ocean Station Papa, 3-6 times per year building a very valuable time-series of oceanographic data on the Northeast Pacific Ocean. This sampling regime is still done today. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory installed a surface mooring to collected further oceanographic data between 1997 and 1999. The U.S. Ocean Observatory Initiative will be installing one of its Global oceanographic buoys at Station Papa.