Exploration Geophysics Exploration Geophysics Society
Journal of the Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Study of Scholte wave dispersion curves and modal energy distribution using a wavefield numerical simulation method

Hua Wu 1 Guang-Zhou Shao 2 3 Qing-Chun Li 2
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

1 School of Science, Chang’an University, Xi’an 710064, China.

2 School of Geology Engineering and Geomatics, Chang’an University, Xi’an 710054, China.

3 Corresponding author. Email: shao_gz@chd.edu.cn

Exploration Geophysics - https://doi.org/10.1071/EG16048
Submitted: 28 April 2016  Accepted: 18 April 2017   Published online: 24 May 2017

Abstract

Surface waves travelling along the subsurface interface between water and sediment are called Scholte (or generalised Rayleigh) waves. In this paper, we examine the characteristics of Scholte wave dispersion curves and their modal energy distribution through synthetic simulation tests. Analytical solutions of the dispersion equation for a homogeneous isotropic layered medium describe the propagation characteristics of the fundamental and higher modes, but do not provide information about the relative energy distributions of those wave modes. In real situations, the dispersion curves with different modes have different energies corresponding to different frequency bands. It is instructive to study and analyse the behaviours of Scholte wave dispersion curves by using joint dispersion equation solutions and numerical simulations results. Dispersion equation solutions are used to validate the numerical results, which in turn are used to assess energy distribution for both the fundamental and the higher modes. We observe that the thickness of the overlying water layer and the elastic properties of the ocean bottom play important roles in the dispersion characteristics of Scholte waves. The dispersion of the soft ocean-bottom model (whose S-wave velocity of the first solid layer is lower than the P-wave velocity of water) is dominated by the fundamental mode and appears to be less dependent on the thickness of the overlying water layer. In contrast, the dispersion of the hard ocean-bottom model contains significant energy in the higher modes. Higher modes will shift to lower frequencies and will be spatially closer (in the frequency direction) when the water layer thickness increases. The dispersion characteristics of the real data are in a good agreement with the conclusion of a soft ocean-bottom model. Our modelling approach of combining analytical solutions of the dispersion equation with numerical modelling can facilitate Scholte wave exploration in water-covered areas.

Key words: dispersion curves, dispersion equation, Scholte wave, surface wave, water layer, wavefield numerical simulation.


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