Geoacoustic estimation of the seafloor sound speed profile in deep passive margin setting using standard multichannel seismic data

Ernst Uzhansky, Omri Gadol, Guy Lang, Boris Katsnelson, Shelly Copel, Tom Kazaz, Yizhaq Makovsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Seafloor geoacoustic properties are important in determining sound propagation in the marine environment, which broadly affects sub-sea activities. However, geoacoustic investigation of the deep seafloor, which is required by the recent expansion of deep-water operations, is challenging. This paper presents a methodology for estimating the seafloor sound speed, c0, and a sub-bottom velocity gradient, K, in a relatively deep-water-compacting (~1000 m) passive-margin setting, based on standard commercial 2D seismic data. Here we study the seafloor of the southeastern Mediterranean margin based on data from three commercial seismic profiles, which were acquired using a 7.2 km-long horizontal receiver array. The estimation applies a geoacoustic inversion of the wide-angle reflections and the travel times of the head waves of bending rays. Under the assumption of a constant positive K, the geoacoustic inversion converges to a unique set of parameters that best satisfy the data. The analysis of 24 measurement locations revealed an increase in the average estimates of c0 from 1537 ± 13 m s−1 to 1613 ± 12 m s−1 for seafloor depths between ~1150 m and ~1350 m. K ranged between 0.75 and 0.85 m s−1 with an average of 0.80 ± 0.035 s−1 . The parameters were consistent across the different locations and seismic lines and they match the values that were obtained through depth-migration-velocity analysis and empiric relations, thereby validating our estimation methodology.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1423
JournalJournal of Marine Science and Engineering
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Acoustic seafloor characterization
  • Caustic
  • Geoacoustic inversion
  • Sound propagation in the marine environment
  • Sound speed estimation
  • Sound speed gradient

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Geoacoustic estimation of the seafloor sound speed profile in deep passive margin setting using standard multichannel seismic data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this