Abstract

Geotechnical characterization of marine sediments remains an outstanding challenge for offshore energy development, including foundation design and site selection of wind turbines and offshore platforms. We demonstrate that passive distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) surveys offer a new solution for shallow offshore geotechnical investigation where seafloor power or communications cables with fiber-optic links are available. We analyze Scholte waves recorded by DAS on a 42 km power cable in the Belgian offshore area of the southern North Sea. Ambient noise crosscorrelations converge acceptably with just over one hour of data, permitting multimodal Scholte wave dispersion measurement and shear-wave velocity inversion along the cable. We identify anomalous off-axis Scholte wave arrivals in noise crosscorrelations at high frequencies. Using a simple passive source imaging approach, we associate these arrivals with individual wind turbines, which suggests they are generated by structural vibrations. While many technological barriers must be overcome before ocean-bottom DAS can be applied to global seismic monitoring in the deep oceans, high-frequency passive surveys for high-resolution geotechnical characterization and monitoring in coastal regions are easily achievable today.

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