Research facilitation and management for Newfoundland and Labrador's offshore industry

Development of a Deepwater Seafloor Technology for Advanced Geotechnical Testing and Hydrocarbon Prospecting

Lead PI: Mr. Harold Christian
Subject Category: Health, Safety and the Environment

Start Date: Jul 2004
End Date: Oct 2004
Institution / Organization: Brooke Ocean Technology Ltd. and Christian Situ Geosciences Inc.

The exploration and development of deepwater sites on the continental slope present unusual challenges for offshore foundation engineering.  This project led by Harold Christian, of Christian Situ Geoscience Inc. in partnership with Brooke Ocean Technology Ltd. and the Geological Survey of Canada (Atlantic) adapted an existing piston core sampling system to act as a flexible method for carrying out advanced in situ geotechnical tests and for installing long-term pore pressure sensors. 

The Harpoon Free Fall Cone Penetrometer (FFCPT) mounts in place of the soil sampling cutting shoe and can operate autonomously in any water depth up to 3,500m. The FFCPT method involves dropping an instrumented cone penetrometer into the seafloor, using its gravitational mass as a means of developing sufficient downward force to cause shear failure of the sediments. A high speed data acquisition system continuously monitors the sediment shearing response, by means of a suite of sensors mounted inside the FFCPT tool, and the continuous profiling of the sediment column and generates high-quality cone penetration test-type data.

Cost effective, risk-reducing and reliable, this new geotechnical and geophysical site investigation technology enables any vessel capable of coring operations to conduct preliminary geophysical surveys and seafloor core sampling.


  • PRACtically Speaking (2009) Alumni Update: ODIM Brooke Ocean [PDF]
  • ODIM Brooke Ocean (2007) Free Fall Cone Penetrometer (FFCPT): Geotechnical Applications of the FFCPT [web]
  • PRACtically Speaking (2005) Harpoon Free Fall Cone Penetrometer (FFCPT)
  • Press Release (2004) Brooke Ocean Technology moves towards commercialization with Penetrometer [PDF]
  • Brooke Ocean Technology Ltd. and Christian Situ Geosciences Ltd. (2004) Harpoon Free Fall Cone Penetrometer Test Results: Hudson 2004030 Field Verification Project [PDF]

quick links


101-1 Church Hill
St. John's, NL, Canada A1C 3Z7

Tel: 709.738.7916

Privacy Policy