National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce


FY 1994

Estimation of seafloor microtopographic roughness through modeling of acoustic backscatter data recorded by multibeam sonar systems

Matsumoto, H., R.P. Dziak, and C.G. Fox

J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 94(5), 2776–2787, doi: 10.1121/1.407361 (1993)

A method is described for estimating parameters related to the power-law frequency spectrum of seafloor interface roughness from acoustic backscatter strength measured from hull- mounted multibeam sonar arrays. Scattering parameters for a sediment-free seafloor are inversely derived from backscatter data using a Kirchhoff-based interface scattering model developed by Jackson et al. [J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 79, 1410-1422 (1986)]. A variety of data reduction routines are employed, including slope correction, beam-pattern and pulse-width corrections [de Moustier et al., J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 90, 522-531 (1991)], ping cross correlation, and an indirect method to account for the lack of system calibration. The method is applied to well-studied areas of the Juan de Fuca Ridge and the results compared to geological ground truth. Preliminary results indicate that the method may be valuable as a survey tool for routine mapping of seafloor acoustic properties.

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