The University of Southampton

SOES6024 Seafloor Exploration and Surveying 2

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• To give you a grounding in core concepts (theoretical and applied) of marine high resolution geophysics for work in a wide variety of marine environments (coastal zone to the deep oceans). • To provide you with the skills to undertake the acquisition, processing and interpretation of a range of acoustic data sets. • To demonstrate the wide range of industrial and academic applications of high resolution marine geophysics. • To teach you a range of key skills including numeracy, problem solving, presentation, communication appropriate to this sub-discipline.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand the basic theoretical concepts behind high resolution marine geophysics.
  • Understand the techniques for the acquisition, processing and interpretation of seabed and sub-seabed high resolution marine geophysical data sets.
  • Successfully integrate a diverse set of geological and geophysical data sets for the solution of a range of geological problems.
  • Apply a range of key skills at Masters level.
  • Working in groups.
  • Written presentation of both scientific and commercial material.
  • Poster presentation skills.


The course is divided in to three one week assignments. There is only one formal lecture (in the week prior to the module starting in order to outline the module content and structure and identify boat groups so we are able to start surveying with one half of the group on the first day. The following three week are as follows: 1. Assignment 1: Undertake a seabed stability review of a section of a new cable route being proposed for installation in the middle of the East Solent. This entails the acquisition and processing of swath and sub-bottom profiling data from the RV Callista. Interpretation of sub-bottom data to provide sub-surface structural information. Quantitative comparison with extant datasets in order to assess temporal and spatial variability of seabed. Consider implications for both installation and post-installation performance 2. Assignment 2: Produce a substrate map for an area of seabed at the entrance to the Bosphorous Straits. This requires processing of a 2013 Edgetech 4200 MP 100 and 400 kHz side scan sonar data set including production of a full mosaic. Integration with additional co-acquired swath and backscatter datasets, and ground truth data. 3. Assignment 3: Create a ground model of a sandbank in the Outer Thames Estuary. Requires integration of boomer and swath data in Petrel. Addition of ground truth data for calibration of seismics. Complete seismic and where appropriate litho-facies interpretation. Place in context with extant literature on bank formation.

Special Features

This module gives the students an unmatched in the UK experience of acquiring, processing and interpreting high resolution geophysical data. In addition to the three Assignments we have also linked with the Southern Region of The Hydrographic Society of the UK to have a Student Evening two weeks after the module at which the highest graded examples of work are presented to the local society. This module may be available to students on both the final year of four-year undergraduate programmes, and to postgraduate taught master's programmes.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This will be an intensive "short" course of three-weeks duration. Formal Lectures: There is only one formal lecture to introduce the course the remaining three weeks consist of lecturer led practicals to accomplish the three assignments. Boat practical (one day): This will involve the acquisition of multi-beam swath bathymetry and high resolution sub-bottom profiling data. Computer practicals: 12 computer practicals for the processing of sea-bed and sub sea-bed geophysical datasets.

Practical classes and workshops55
Supervised time in studio/workshop50
Independent Study75
Total study time181


Assessment Strategy

Assessment: The final work will be presented as follows: Assignment 1: A maximum of a five page technical report plus appropriate figures. Examples of commercial cable route survey reports looking specifically at seabed stability issues are provided. Assignment 2: A production of A3 poster for presentation at an assessed poster session. Assignment 3: A short paper (maximum of 10 pages, including figures and references) for “Geomorphology”. A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.


MethodPercentage contribution
Poster Presentation 30%
Report 35%
Written assignment 35%
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