Date of Award

8-6-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Degree Program

Engineering and Applied Science

Department

Physics

Major Professor

Ioup, George; Ioup, Juliette

Second Advisor

Sidorovskaia, Natalia

Third Advisor

Charalampidis, Dimitrios

Fourth Advisor

Sarwar, Mostafa

Abstract

In June 2003, the Littoral Acoustic Demonstration Center conducted an acoustic characterization experiment for a standard seismic exploration array. Two moorings with Environmental Acoustic Recording Systems (EARS) were deployed in the northern part of the Gulf of Mexico to measure ambient noise and collect shot information. A 21-element seismic airgun array was towed along five parallel linear tracks with horizontal closest approach points to the EARS buoy position of 63, 500, 1000, 2000, and 5000 m. Calibrated acoustic pressure measurements collected during the experiment were analyzed to obtain zero-to-peak sound pressures, sound exposure levels, and pressure levels in 1/3-octave frequency bands. In addition, the experimental data were modeled by using a modified underwater acoustic propagation model to fill in missing data measurements. The resulting modeling procedure showed good agreement between measured and modeled data 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. Based on results of the experiment conducted and data analysis performed, a new experimental design was proposed to maximize the amount of collected data using the available equipment while minimizing the time needed for the source ship. The design used three patches, one with 3º angular spacing between the lines at a reference depth. Embedded is a smaller patch with 1º spacing and within that a still smaller patch with one half degree spacing. This arrangement gives a reasonably uniform distribution of shots versus solid angle with a large variety of emission and azimuthal angles for different ranges. Due to the uncertainty of positioning systems, the angular space is divided into solid angle bins. Simulations predicted more than 200 shots per bin for emission angles greater than 13 degrees. Statistical analysis of collected data will be performed on the proposed bin basis. An experiment based on the proposed design was conducted in Fall 2007. The data measurements collected during the experiment are currently being analyzed and will be reported in the near future.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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