Modelling of seafloor multiples observed in OBS data from the North Atlantic – new seismic tool for oceanography?

Grad M., Mjelde R., Czuba W., Guterch A., Schweitzer J., the IPY Project Group

Polish Polar Research

32 (4), 2011, 405–422, 10.2478/v10183-011-0027-3

In marine seismic wide-angle profiling the recorded wave field is dominated by waves propagating in the water. These strong direct and multiple water waves are generally treated as noise, and considerable processing efforts are employed in order minimize their influences. In this paper we demonstrate how the water arrivals can be used to determine the water velocity beneath the seismic wide-angle profile acquired in the Northern Atlantic. The pattern of water multiples generated by air-guns and recorded by Ocean Bottom Seismometers (OBS) changes with ocean depth and allows determination of 2D model of velocity. Along the profile, the water velocity is found to change from about 1450 to approximately 1490 m/s. In the uppermost 400 m the velocities are in the range of 1455-1475 m/s, corresponding to the oceanic thermocline. In the deep ocean there is a velocity decrease with depth, and a minimum velocity of about 1450 m/s is reached at about 1.5 km depth. Below that, the velocity increases to about 1495 m/s at approximately 2.5 km depth. Our model compares well with estimates from CTD (Conductivity, Temperature, Depth) data collected nearby, suggesting that the modelling of water multiples from OBS data might become an important oceanographic tool.