Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Interference fringes on GLORIA side-scan sonar images from the Bering Sea and their implications

January 1, 1992

GLORIA side-scan sonographs from the Bering Sea Basin show a complex pattern of interference fringes sub-parallel to the ship's track. Surveys along the same trackline made in 1986 and 1987 show nearly identical patterns. It is concluded from this that the interference patterns are caused by features in the shallow subsurface rather than in the water column. The fringes are interpreted as a thin-layer interference effect that occurs when some of the sound reaching the seafloor passes through it and is reflected off a subsurface layer. The backscattered sound interferes (constructively or desctructively) with the reflected sound. Constructive/destructive interference occurs when the difference in the length of the two soundpaths is a whole/half multiple of GLORIA's 25 cm wavelength. Thus as range from the ship increases, sound moves in and out of phase causing bands of greater and lesser intensity on the GLORIA sonograph. Fluctuations (or 'wiggles') of the fringes on the GLORIA sonographs relate to changes in layer thickness. In principle, a simple three dimensional image of the subsurface layer may be obtained using GLORIA and bathymetric data from adjacent (parallel) ship's tracks. These patterns have also been identified in images from two other systems; SeaMARC II (12 kHz) long-range sonar, and TOBI (30 kHz) deep-towed sonar. In these, and other cases world-wide, the fringes do not appear with the same persistence as those seen in the Bering Sea. ?? 1992 Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Publication Year 1992
Title Interference fringes on GLORIA side-scan sonar images from the Bering Sea and their implications
DOI 10.1007/BF01674065
Authors Q.J. Huggett, A. K. Cooper, M. L. Somers, A.R. Stubbs
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Marine Geophysical Research
Index ID 70017230
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse