Blackwell Publishing Journal Backfiles 1879-2005
Amplitude-variation-with-offset (AVO) analysis is based on the Zoeppritz equations, which enable the computation of reflection and transmission coefficients as a function of offset or angle of incidence. High-frequency (up to 700 Hz) AVO studies, presented here, have been used to determine the physical properties of sediments in a shallow marine environment (20 m water depth). The properties that can be constrained are P- and S-wave velocities, bulk density and acoustic attenuation. The use of higher frequencies requires special analysis including careful geometry and source and receiver directivity corrections. In the past, marine sediments have been modelled as elastic materials. However, viscoelastic models which include absorption are more realistic. At angles of incidence greater than 40°, AVO functions derived from viscoelastic models differ from those with purely elastic properties in the absence of a critical angle of incidence. The influence of S-wave velocity on the reflection coefficient is small (especially for low S-wave velocities encountered at the sea-floor). Thus, it is difficult to extract the S-wave parameter from AVO trends. On the other hand, P-wave velocity and density show a considerably stronger effect. Attenuation (described by the quality factor Q) influences the reflection coefficient but could not be determined uniquely from the AVO functions. In order to measure the reflection coefficient in a seismogram, the amplitudes of the direct wave and the sea-floor reflection in a common-midpoint (CMP) gather are determined and corrected for spherical divergence as well as source and streamer directivity. At CMP locations showing the different AVO characteristics of a mud and a boulder clay, the sediment physical properties are determined by using a sequential-quadratic-programming (SQP) inversion technique. The inverted sediment physical properties for the mud are: P-wave velocity α=1450±25 m/s, S-wave velocity β=90±35 m/s, density ρ=1220±45 kg/m3, quality factor for P-wave QP=15±200, quality factor for S-wave QS=10±30. The inverted sediment physical properties for the boulder clay are: α=1620±45 m/s,β=360±200 m/s,ρ=1380±85 kg/m3,QP=790±660,QS=25±10.
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