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This paper proposes a method, based on the Biot model, for estimating the physical and acoustic properties of surficial ocean sediments from normal incidence reflection data acquired by a chirp sonar. The inversion method estimates sediment porosity from reflection coefficient measurements and, using the estimated porosity and the measured change in fast wave attenuation with frequency, estimates the permeability of the top sediment layer. The spectral ratio of echoes from the interface at the base of the upper sediment layer and from the sediment-water interface provides a measure of the change in attenuation with frequency. Given the porosity and permeability estimates, the Kozeny-Carman equation provides the mean grain size and the inversion method yields the acoustic properties of top sediment layer. The inversion technique is tested using chirp sonar data collected at the 1999 Sediment Acoustics Experiment (SAX-99) site. Remote estimates of porosity, grain size, and permeability agree with direct measurements of those properties.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2004