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The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research project: Inversion of very-high-resolution reflection data to quantify sediment properties

Currently Active: 

Very-high-resolution seismic profiling has many uses in marine engineering, archaeology, homeland defence and geological applications.

Inferring sediment properties from seismic reflection data can be challenging, and is often heavily reliant on direct sediment sampling through coring, which can be time consuming and expensive. This project represents the first application of acoustic inversion to very-high-resolution marine seismic data. In doing so, extracting quantitative information regarding sediment properties.

Field Chirp seismic section (a), inverted Chirp section (b) and accompanying impedance section (c). Panel (d) compares inverted impedance with coincident core data
Figure 1


  • Sparker, Boomer and Chirp profiles from a range of locations have been used
  • Inversion results have been ground-truthed against multiple high-resolution core and cone penetrometer data

Key Objectives

  • To investigate the application of acoustic inversion to very-high-resolution seismic data (Sparker, Boomer and Chirp sources)
  • To use these inversion techniques for rapid and high-resolution spatial mapping of soil properties
Field Sparker seismic section (a), inverted relative impedance section (b), and calculated gas saturation profile (c)
Figure 2

Key Contact

Dr Mark Vardy

PhDs and Other Opportunities


Related research groups

Geology and Geophysics
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