Resolving meso-scale seabed variability using reflection measurements from an autonomous underwater vehicle

Charles W. Holland, Peter L. Nielsen, Jan Dettmer, Stan Dosso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Seabed geoacoustic variability is driven by geological processes that occur over a wide spectrum of space-time scales. While the acoustics community has some understanding of horizontal fine-scale geoacoustic variability, less than O(10 0) m, and large-scale variability, greater than O(10 3) m, there is a paucity of data resolving the geoacoustic meso-scale O(10 0-10 3) m. Measurements of the meso-scale along an ostensibly benign portion of the outer shelf reveal three classes of variability. The first class was expected and is due to horizontal variability of layer thicknesses: this was the only class that could be directly tied to seismic reflection data. The second class is due to rapid changes in layer properties and/or boundaries, occurring over scales of meters to hundreds of meters. The third class was observed as rapid variations of the angle/frequency dependent reflection coefficient within a single observation and is suggestive of variability at scales of meter or less. Though generally assumed to be negligible in acoustic modeling, the second and third classes are indicative of strong horizontal geoacoustic variability within a given layer. The observations give early insight into possible effects of horizontal geoacoustic variability on long-range acoustic propagation and reverberation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1066-1078
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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