Geoacoustic inversion for fine-grained sediments

Charles W. Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Fine-grained water saturated sediments like silty clays have the curious property that the speed of sound through its bulk medium is lower than that of the interstitial pore fluid. When a fine-grained sediment is at the water - sediment interface, classical theory predicts that there is an angle at which the reflection coefficient is zero, and there is total transmission of sound into the seabed. This angle is called the angle of intromission and has been directly observed at the seafloor only rarely. Data from a new measurement technique show this phenomenon with remarkable clarity. The presence of the angle of intromission creates an opportunity for a direct (i.e., without search) inversion for the sediment sound speed and density. Though acoustic techniques generally do not estimate sediment density very precisely, this technique is quite sensitive to density. Geoacoustic inversion results from reflection measurements in the Straits of Sicily compare very favorably with independent "ground truth" data indicating that the method is robust.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1560-1564
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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