The use of marine seismic profiling for environmental assessment
T. M. McGEE
Journal name: Geophysical Prospecting
Issue: Vol 38, No 8, November 1990 pp. 861 - 880
Info: Article, PDF ( 1.7Mb )
One application of marine seismic profiling that has an especially auspicious future is the delineation, and possible identification, of anomalously reflective material accumulated in the sediments of rivers, bays and estuaries. Analogue field data are presented which illustrate that such sediments are associated with strong sequences of multiple reflections. The rate of decay of these sequences indicates the magnitude of the reflection coefficients and the relative polarity of wavelets indicates whether they are positive or negative. If zero-offset field geometry and digital recording are used, it is possible to compare wavelets within a sequence and thereby determine acoustic impedance contrasts from which sediment density can be inferred. If the source is sufficiently broadband, it becomes possible to determine absorption characteristics as well. Two principal problems arise when analysing multiple sequences; adequate data acquisition and suitable geometric corrections. Having solved these, this type of analysis could lead to the seismic identification of sea-floor materials. Since anomalous material is often associated with effluent, the method can become an important tool in the growing effort to monitor and improve environmental quality.