A new digital seismic data acquisition system and accompanying software have been developed by Ifremer to replace the analog equipment commonly used in very high-resolution (less than 1 m) shallow marine seismic reflection surveys. The acquisition part, based on a Hewlett-Packard 9000 microcomputer, is capable of sampling rates of up to 15 kHz for one channel. Signal processing and image processing can be performed either during the survey by the acquisition computer or after the survey with a software system that runs on a Sun workstation.The system has been developed for the specific requirements of coastal studies; understanding of the sediment layers in such studies requires a vertical resolution of around 1 m in the top 10 m of sediment. This system has been successfully used for the study of subtidal sand waves off the Cherbourg peninsula (France). The results, which revealed the internal structure of sand waves from about 3 m to 8 m high, correlated well with synthetic seismograms that were created using data from core studies of the survey area.

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