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Waterfall notch-filtering for restoration of acoustic backscatter records from Admiralty Bay, Antarctica


A series of multibeam sonar surveys were conducted from 2009 to 2013 around Admiralty Bay, Shetland Islands, Antarctica. These surveys provided a detailed bathymetric model that helped understand and characterize the bottom geology of this remote area. Unfortunately, the acoustic backscatter records registered during these bathymetric surveys were heavily contaminated with noise and motion artifacts. These artifacts persisted in the backscatter records despite the fact that the proper acquisition geometry and the necessary offsets and delays were applied during the survey and in post-processing. These noisy backscatter records were very difficult to interpret and to correlate with gravity-core samples acquired in the same area. In order to address this issue, a directional notch-filter was applied to the backscatter waterfall in the along-track direction. The proposed filter provided better estimates for the backscatter strength of each sample by considerably reducing residual motion artifacts. The restoration of individual samples was possible since the waterfall frame of reference preserves the acquisition geometry. Then, a remote seafloor characterization procedure based on an acoustic model inversion was applied to the restored backscatter samples, generating remote estimates of acoustic impedance. These remote estimates were compared to Multi Sensor Core Logger measurements of acoustic impedance obtained from gravity core samples. The remote estimates and the Core Logger measurements of acoustic impedance were comparable when the shallow seafloor was homogeneous. The proposed waterfall notch-filtering approach can be applied to any sonar record, provided that we know the system ping-rate and sampling frequency.

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This research was supported by Petrobras/Cenpes under the research project “Processamento de Sinais Sonográficos para a Identificação Direta de Hidrocarbonetos”, SAP: 4600505474, 2014/00634-2. This work was partially funded by the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq) under Grant 311131/2014-0.

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Correspondence to Luciano Fonseca.

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Fonseca, L., Hung, E.M., Neto, A.A. et al. Waterfall notch-filtering for restoration of acoustic backscatter records from Admiralty Bay, Antarctica. Mar Geophys Res 39, 139–149 (2018).

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  • Notch-filter
  • Multibeam
  • Waterfall
  • Backscatter restoration
  • Seafloor characterization
  • Antarctica