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Seafloor characterization based on multibeam backscatter data

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Beyer, A. , Chakraborty, B. and Schenke, H. W. (2004): Seafloor characterization based on multibeam backscatter data , Proceedings of the Seventh European Conference on Underwater Acoustics, ECUA 2004 : 5 to 8 July 2004, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands / ed. by Dick G. Simons, T. 2. Delft : Technische Universiteit <Delft> .
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In addition to the depth measurements, the Hydrosweep DS-2 multibeam system provides beamwise amplitude information of the received echo signal. The amplitudes are converted into multibeam backscatter strength using the NRGCOR software. After removing the mean angular backscatter decrease from the data, shape invariant backscatter is derived and used to generate backscatter grey scale maps. Thereafter, seafloor areas of different grey scale levels are separated. These areas are characterized based on shape invariant backscatter level, slope of the angular backscatter decrease, mean angular response at 20° incidence angle and coefficient of variation. Since shape invariant backscatter data are related to one reference incidence angle, they are suitable for display on bathymetric maps. Structures which are not visible in the bathymetry can be identified.Hydrosweep angular backscatter data has been used to identify and characterize different seafloor segments at the eastern margin of the Porcupine Seabight (northeast Atlantic). Channels, carbonate mounds and buried mounds are analyzed to distinguish seafloor facies. The range of the shape invariant backscatter grey level is 12 dB. The backscatter levels are higher for the mound area compared to the channel seafloor. The buried mounds show the highest slope of the angular backscatter descrease. The coefficient of variation is highest for the mound areas.

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