In the summer of 2003, the Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center conducted an acoustic characterization experiment for a 21-element marine seismic exploration airgun array of total volume of 0.0588 m3 (3590 in.3). Two Environmental Acoustic Recording System buoys, one with a desensitized hydrophone, were deployed at a depth of 758 m in a water depth of 990 m, near Green’s Canyon in the Gulf of Mexico. Shots over a grid were recorded and calibrated to produce absolute broadband (up to 25 kHz) pressure-time dependencies for a wide range of offsets and arrival angles in the water column. Experimental data are analyzed to obtain maximum received zero-to-peak pressure levels, maximum received sound exposure levels, and pressure levels in 1/3-octave frequency bands for each shot. Experimental data are quantitatively modeled by using an upgraded version of an underwater acoustic propagation model and seismic source modeling packages for a variety of ranges and arrival angles. Experimental and modeled data show good agreement in absolute pressure amplitudes and frequency interference patterns for frequencies up to 1000 Hz. The analysis is important for investigating the potential impact on marine mammals and fish and predicting the exposure levels for newly planned seismic surveys in other geographic areas.
J. Acoust. Soc. Am.
J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 123 (6), 4094 (2008)