Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Ocean Engineering

First Advisor

James H. Miller


The main goal of this project was to study the use of the acoustic vector field, separately or in combination with the scalar field, to estimate the depth dependent geoacoustic properties of the seafloor via non-linear inversion. The study was performed in the context of the Sediment Acoustics Experiment 2004 (SAX04) conducted in the Northern Gulf of Mexico (GOM) where a small number of acoustic vector sensors were deployed in close proximity to the seafloor. A variety of acoustic waveforms were transmitted into the seafloor at normal incidence. The acoustic vector sensors were located both above and beneath the seafloor interface where they measured the acoustic pressure and the acoustic particle acceleration. Motion data provided by the buried vector sensors were affected by a suspension response that was sensitive to the mass properties of the sensor, the sediment density and sediment elasticity (e.g., shear wave speed). The suspension response for the buried vector sensors included a resonance within the analysis band of 0.4 to 2.0 kHz. The suspension resonance represented an unknown complex transfer function between the acoustic vector field in the seabed and data representing that field. Therefore, inverse methods developed for this study were required to 1) estimate dynamic properties of the sensor suspension resonance and 2) account for the associated corruption of vector field data. A method to account for the vector sensor suspense response function was integrated directly into the inversion methods such that vector channel data corruption was reduced and an estimate of the shear wave speed in the sediment was returned. Inversions of real and synthetic data sets indicated that information about sediment shear wave speed was carried by the suspension response of the buried sensors, as opposed to being contained inherently within the acoustic vector field.