Mid frequency shallow water fine-grained sediment attenuation measurements

Charles W. Holland, Stan E. Dosso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Attenuation is perhaps the most difficult sediment acoustic property to measure, but arguably one of the most important for predicting passive and active sonar performance. Measurement techniques can be separated into "direct" measurements (e.g., via sediment probes, sediment cores, and laboratory studies on "ideal" sediments) which are typically at high frequencies, O(104-105) Hz, and "indirect" measurements where attenuation is inferred from long-range propagation or reflection data, generally O(102-103) Hz. A frequency gap in measurements exists in the 600-4000 Hz band and also a general acknowledgement that much of the historical measurements on fine-grained sediments have been biased due to a non-negligible silt and sand component. A shallow water measurement technique using long range reverberation is critically explored. An approximate solution derived using energy flux theory shows that the reverberation is very sensitive to depth-integrated attenuation in a fine-grained sediment layer and separable from most other unknown geoacoustic parameters. Simulation using Bayesian methods confirms the theory. Reverberation measurements across a 10 m fine-grained sediment layer yield an attenuation of 0.009 dB/m/kHz with 95% confidence bounds of 0.006-0.013 dB/m/kHz. This is among the lowest values for sediment attenuation reported in shallow water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-143
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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