In marine seismic acquisition, it used to be commonly accepted that it is optimal to tow the source deep to enhance the low-frequency content in the seismic data. However, Mayne and Quay found in 1971 that the low-frequency response of air guns actually improves as the source depth decreases. We evaluated a simple ad hoc theory that demonstrates that two effects are counteracting each other: The free-surface effect favors deep-towed sources, whereas the bubble time period (increasing with decreasing source depth) favors shallower tow depths. From a fjord test, we found that combining several source depths in an air gun array might flatten and improve the low-frequency part of the source spectrum. The experiment confirms that various source depths result in local, characteristic maxima in the low-frequency spectrum, corresponding to the bubble time period of the air gun.

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