Measurement of the in situ compressional wave properties of marine sediments

TitleMeasurement of the in situ compressional wave properties of marine sediments
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
AuthorsRobb, GBN, Best, AI, Dix, JK, White, PR, Leighton, TG, Bull, JM, Harris, A
JournalOceanic Engineering, IEEE Journal of
ISBN Number0364-9059

Geoacoustic inversion requires a generic knowledge of the frequency dependence of compressional wave properties in marine sediments, the nature of which is still under debate. The use of in situ probes to measure sediment acoustic properties introduces a number of experimental difficulties that must be overcome. To this end, a series of well-constrained in situ acoustic transmission experiments were undertaken on intertidal sediments using a purpose-built in situ device, the Sediment Probing Acoustic Detection Equipment (SPADE). Compressional wave speed and attenuation coefficient were measured from 16 to 100 kHz in medium to fine sands and coarse to medium silts. Spreading losses, which were adjusted for sediment type, were incorporated into the data processing, as were a thorough error analysis and an examination of the repeatability of both the acoustic wave emitted by the source and the coupling between probes and sediment. Over the experimental frequency range and source-to-receiver (S-R) separations of 0.99-8.1 m, resulting speeds are accurate to between 1.1% and 4.5% in sands and less than 1.9% in silts, while attenuation coefficients are accurate to between 1 and 7 dBm in both sands and silts. Preliminary results indicate no speed dispersion and an attenuation coefficient that is proportional to frequency.