Sound Propagation around Underwater Seamounts

Joseph J. Sikora III, Ph.D., 2009
Arthur Baggeroer, Advisor

Seamounts are ubiquitous throughout the world’s oceans and can absorb and scatter acoustic energy, offering many interesting acoustic modeling challenges. The goal of the research performed in support of this thesis is to measure the acoustic scattered field of a large, conical seamount at long-range, and reconcile observations with 2-D range-dependent acoustic models, for the purpose of understanding the effects of highly range-dependent bathymetry.

The Basin Acoustic Seamount Scattering Experiment (BASSEX) was conducted to measure the scattered fields of the two seamounts which form the Kermit-Roosevelt Seamount Complex in the Northeast Pacific Ocean during September and October of 2004. BASSEX is the first experiment to measure acoustic arrival patterns in the scattered field of a seamount at many locations at sound path ranges of order 500 km, utilizing a rich bathymetry and sound velocity database.
Convergence zones in the forward-scattered field of seamounts at long-range are observed, created by higher order mode coupling and blockage. Acoustic ray arrival angles, travel times, and amplitudes show good agreement with parabolic equation (PE) acoustic modeling results inside the forward-scattered fields; in particular, simulated results are fairly accurate for weak surface-reflected-bottom-reflected acoustic rays.