Marine Geophysical Researches

, Volume 26, Issue 2–4, pp 275–286 | Cite as

A Sound Approach to Soft Sediment Resolution



The last few years has seen a surge in research activities directed towards investigating properties and dynamics of young marine, limnic and fluvial sediments. It is by now a well established fact that the sequence of sediments ranging from concentrated benthic suspension over fluid mud to un-consolidated material summarized as liquid sediments (LS), act as carriers for a wide range of pollutants discharged or migrated into waterways. Knowledge of the transport and fate of LS allows determining the transport and fate of adsorbed constituents (e.g., heavy metals, pesticides, PCBs, PAHs). To assess the environmental impact of LS, efforts have to be made to better understand the processes in relation to hydrodynamics and the chemical and physical properties of the layers. Since physical laws limit the resolution and detection power of conventional seismo-acoustic systems in respect of LS, alternative measurement, data analysis and processing approaches have to be found. Adapted acoustic procedures initially developed for shallow water marine environments to extreme shallow water regimes using matched field inversion techniques can reveal geoacoustic parameters including density, compressional wave speed and attenuation as a function of depth and time. The paper outlines the effects of sediment mobility upon the environment followed by a short overview of techniques commonly used to investigate sediments and other freshwater/marine events. The problems faced and limitations of existing systems are briefly outlined. Results obtained with recently developed and refined geoacoustic inversion methods are presented highlighting their potential for long-term study of physical properties and dynamics of LS.


acoustic surveys fluid mud mobile sediments shallow water 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Environmental Hydroacoustics LaboratoryUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium

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