Long-range acoustic scattering from a shallow-water mud-volcano cluster

Charles W. Holland, John R. Preston, Douglas A. Abraham

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10 Scopus citations


Analysis of reverberation measurements in the Straits of Sicily shows high intensity, discrete, scattered returns 10-20 dB above background reverberation. These returns are due to scattering from mud volcanoes. The reverberation from the mud volcanoes at ranges of 15-22 km is reasonably consistent over these spatial scales (i.e., kilometers) and temporal scales of several hours; measurements separated by 4 years are also similar. Statistical characterization indicates that the reverberation associated with a mud-volcano cluster is strongly non-Rayleigh and that the reverberation can be characterized by a single (shape) parameter, roughly independent of frequency. The non-Rayleigh statistics, with a concomitant increase in the probability of false alarm, indicate that mud volcanoes are a likely source of clutter. Mean target strengths were estimated at 1-11 dB over 160-1400 Hz and are consistent with target strengths measured during a different year at short (direct-path) ranges. Accumulated evidence points to small (order 10 m diameter and several meters high) carbonate chimneys on the mud-volcano edifice as the scattering mechanism as opposed to the edifice itself or scattering from gas bubbles in the water column. Thus, the results represent acoustic scattering from mud volcanoes in a quiescent state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1946-1958
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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