Laboratory simulation and measurement of instrument drift in quartz-resonant pressure gauges

Sasagawa, GS, Zumberge MA, Cook MJ.  2018.  Laboratory simulation and measurement of instrument drift in quartz-resonant pressure gauges. Ieee Access. 6:57334-57340.

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Computer Science, engineering, Piston gauge calibrator, seafloor deformation, seafloor pressure, telecommunications


Seafloor pressure gauges are used in marine geodesy to detect vertical displacement of the seafloor. Instrumental gauge drift is often larger than the sought after geophysical and oceanographic signals. We performed a 12 month laboratory test on two new methods that aim to reduce pressure gauge drift in Paroscientific Digiquartz and other pressure transducers. In one method, a reference quartz oscillator (RQO) is installed adjacent to but isolated from the Bourdon tube whose stress is measured by a vibrating quartz force transducer. In another method, the pressure gauge is periodically connected to accurately measured atmospheric pressure as a reference to allow drift calculation. We found that the RQO is not a good predictor of gauge drift. However, determining drift by periodic exposure to atmospheric pressure is effective. These drift estimates were compared to estimates determined with an absolute piston gauge calibrator; the average difference between drift rates of the two methods is 0.00 +/- 0.05 kPa/year. Finally, we tested the stability of the quartz clocks used in the Paroscientific electronics and found that they are not a significant contributor to drift.