Inferences on seabed acoustics in the East China Sea from distributed acoustic measurements

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Low-frequency acoustic data acquired in the central East China Sea basin at two locations are analyzed for the purpose of making inferences on seabed acoustics. Previous geophysical studies indicate that the first sediment layer is composed of a fine to medium sand. The current analysis employs octave-averaged transmission loss (TL) versus range data and pressure time series generated from explosive sources. The TL and time series data were collected in locations separated by about 65 km during the same month of the year. Both locations are near the same longitude, with water depths of 100-120 m. A linear frequency dependence of the attenuation in the 25-800 Hz band, with or without sound speed dispersion, leads to a geoacoustic solution using the TL data consistent with a soft clay, and thus inconsistent with the existing geophysical data. However, seabed representations that allow for a nonlinear frequency dependence of the attenuation, such as a Kramers-Kronig dispersion relationship, a simplified six-parameter Biot description, and an empirical frequency power law of the attenuation, all give similar values of the attenuation as a function of frequency and sediment sound speeds that are consistent with the previous geophysical studies in the area. Geoacoustic solutions obtained with the TL inversions produce reasonably good fits to the measured time series data. Inversions of the time series indicate that the sound speed at the top of the sediment is lower as compared to the values estimated from the location where the TL data were acquired. While the data have significant limitations as to the information they contain on the properties of the seabed, the analysis aids in quantifying the sensitivity of geoacoustic inversion of acoustic data in shallow water littoral regions to assumptions about the frequency dependence of attenuation and sound speed. © 2006 IEEE.

Publication Title

IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering