Abstract

The 3D chirp subbottom profiler provides high-resolution imaging of coastal and inshore seabed and subseabed structure by combining the known, highly repeatable source waveform of chirp profilers with the coherent processing and interpretation afforded by true 3D seismic volumes. Comprising 60 hydrophone groups arranged around a Maltese cross of four chirp transducers, 3D chirp permits acquisition of a true 3D volume with a horizontal resolution of 12.5cm, providing an excellent base for shallow-water engineering, archaeological, military, and geologic studies. Here, we present results from surveying an atidal basin on the southern coast of England to map bedrock protrusions and the size and distribution of buried objects. The study area of 150×250m provided a series of unique challenges, including a large number of discrete objects ranging from tens of centimeters to several meters in size, buried in a thin veneer (0.5 to 1.5m) of unconsolidated silt overlaying a flat bedrock surface that showed high acoustic contrast and short wavelength roughness. By comparing comprehensive postsurvey dredging of the entire site with a prestack time-migrated 3D volume, it is possible to confirm a 100% detection rate for all discrete buried objects larger than 0.30×0.30m in an illuminated area, although one acoustic anomaly could not be accounted for in the dredging results.

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