Geoacoustic uncertainties from viscoelastic inversion of seabed reflection data

Stan E. Dosso, Charles W. Holland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


This paper applies nonlinear Bayesian inversion to seabed reflection data to estimate viscoelastic parameters of the upper sediments. The inversion provides maximum a posteriori probability (MAP) parameter estimates with uncertainties quantified in terms of marginal probability distributions, variances, and credibility intervals; interparameter relationships are quantified by correlations and joint marginal distributions. The inversion is applied to high-resolution reflectivity data from two sites in the Strait of Sicily. One site is characterized by low-speed sediments, resulting in data with a well-defined angle of intromission; the second is characterized by high-speed sediments, resulting in a critical angle. Data uncertainties are quantified using several approaches, including maximum-likelihood (ML) estimation, treating uncertainties as nuisance parameters in the inversion, and analysis of experimental errors. Statistical tests are applied to the data residuals to validate the assumed uncertainty distributions. Excellent results (i.e., small uncertainties) are obtained for sediment compressional-wave speed, compressional attenuation, and density; shear parameters are less well determined although low shear-wave speeds are indicated. The Bayesian analysis provides a quantitative comparison of inversion results for the two sites in terms of the resolution of specific geoacoustic parameters, and indicates that the geoacoustic information content is significantly higher for intromission data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)657-671
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ocean Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Geoacoustic uncertainties from viscoelastic inversion of seabed reflection data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this