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Marine seismic observation of internal solitary wave packets in the northeast South China Sea.

Tang, Qunshu and Hobbs, Richard and Wang, Dongxiao and Sun, Longtao and Zheng, Chan and Li, Jiabiao and Dong, Chongzhi (2015) 'Marine seismic observation of internal solitary wave packets in the northeast South China Sea.', Journal of geophysical research : oceans., 120 (12). pp. 8487-8503.


Recently the novel seismic oceanography method has been reported to be an effective way to study the energetic internal solitary waves (ISWs) in the northern South China Sea. An optimized seismic-oceanographic cruise was carried out to observe such near-surface ISWs on Dongsha Plateau in July 2014. Several soliton trains rather than single solitons were captured using the seismic technique. After seismic data processing, one prototypical rank-ordered ISW packet on northeast side of Dongsha Island was clearly identified for further analysis. This included waveforms, propagation velocities, and vertical velocities for individual solitons. In this study, an improved scheme was applied to derive the transient phase velocities from the seismic data which is verified from independent satellite and hydrographic data. Analytical predictions from Korteweg-de Vries equation fit better than the extended Korteweg-de Vries equation ignoring background currents. Our results show that the seismic method can be successfully used to image targets in shallow water below 40 m and that seismic oceanography is a promising technique for studying near-surface phenomena with high spatial resolution.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Internal solitary wave, South China Sea, Seismic oceanography.
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Publisher statement:Qunshu Tang, Richard Hobbs, Dongxiao Wang, Longtao Sun, Chan Zheng, Jiabiao Li, Chongzhi Dong (2015), Marine seismic observation of internal solitary wave packets in the northeast South China Sea, Journal of geophysical research: Oceans, 120(12), 8487-8503, 10.1002/2015JC011362 (DOI). To view the published open abstract, go to and enter the DOI.
Date accepted:02 December 2015
Date deposited:23 February 2016
Date of first online publication:09 December 2015
Date first made open access:30 June 2016

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