Although much of the dispute about the 130 wind turbines proposed by Cape Wind has concerned what's above the water, the company is turning its attention to what lies below.
On Friday, Cape Wind began a four-part geological survey of the 25 square miles of Horseshoe Shoal on Nantucket Sound where it proposes to build the 440-foot turbines, according the Cape Cod Times.
"The work starting is really the beginning of what will be a continuous presence of Cape Wind on the shoal, up to construction," Cape Wind spokesman Mark Rodgers said. "The fact is, in construction projects these types of activities are considered the official beginning of construction."
The four-step geological survey will give Cape Wind more information about the seafloor and subsurface, including topographical changes, the layers of materials in the ocean floor and whether foreign objects — including cultural artifacts — are present.
It's a precursor to the construction of foundations for the proposed turbines, Rodgers said. The turbines' steel monopole foundations — pipelike structures about 15 feet in diameter — will be driven into the seabed to a depth of 80 feet and filled with sediment.
The survey is important for the engineering and design of the foundations and supports, as well as the cables running through the area, said Tom McNeilan, vice president of Fugro, the company performing the survey. About 50 scientists and engineers from Fugro, a Dutch company with a base in Norfolk, Va., and other companies will conduct the survey.