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Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

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Sediments -- Acoustics, Acoustic measurements, Geophysics, Marine sediments -- Measurement, Sediments (Geology), New England Mud Patch


A method for measuring in situ compressional wave attenuation exploiting the spectral decay of reflection coefficient Bragg resonances is applied to fine-grained sediments in the New England Mud Patch. Measurements of layer-averaged attenuation in a 10.3 m mud layer yield 0.04 {0.03, 0.055} dB/m/kHz (braces indicate outer bounds); the attenuation is twice as large at a site with 3.2 m mud thickness. It is shown that both results are heavily influenced by a ∼1 m sand-mud transition interval created by geological and biological processes that mix sand (at the base of the mud) into the mud. Informed by the observations, it appears that the spatial dependence of mud layer attenuation across the New England Mud Patch can be predicted by accounting for the transition interval via simple scaling. Further, the ubiquity of the processes that form the transition interval suggests that the scaling may be applied to any muddy continental shelf. In principle, attenuation predictions in littoral environments could be substantively improved with a modest amount of geologic and biologic information.


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This is the authors' version of an article that subsequently appeared in the The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, published by the Acoustical Society of America, vol. 149, issue 5. The version of record may be accessed at

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