The possible impact of marine seismic surveys on marine life has been of great concern for many years. The discussion is, however, characterized by confusion over sound-level terms and measurements, as well as an apparent misunderstanding of the nature of seismic signals. This paper will review underwater sound and the nature of impulse sound as it may impact marine life in general.

A seismic signal is quantified by a variety of measures in the time and frequency domains. Factors such as peak pressure and the rate of pressure change have impact on the quality of the seismic data. But they...

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