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ISSN : 1225-6692(Print)
ISSN : 2287-4518(Online)
Journal of the Korean earth science society Vol.43 No.4 pp.520-531
DOI : https://doi.org/10.5467/JKESS.2022.43.4.520

A Geoacoustic Model at the YMGR-102 Long-core Site in the Middle of the Yellow Sea

Woo-Hun Ryang1*, Seong-Pil Kim2
1Division of Science Education and Institute of Science Education, Jeonbuk National University, Jeonju 54896, Korea
2Marine Geology & Energy Division, Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources, Daejeon 34132, Korea
*Corresponding author: ryang@jbnu.ac.kr Tel: +82-63-270-2790, Fax: +82-63-270-2802
August 2, 2022 August 19, 2022 August 19, 2022

Abstract


The Yellow Sea experienced glacio-eustasy sea-level fluctuations during the Quaternary period. In the middle part of the Yellow Sea, the Quaternary successions were accumulated by alternating terrestrial, paralic, and shallow marine deposits that reflected the fluctuating sea levels. A long core of 69.2 m was acquired at the YMGR-102 site (33°50.1782'N and 123°48.3019'E) at a depth of 72.5 m in the middle of the Yellow Sea. A four-layered geoacoustic model was reconstructed for the sedimentary succession. It was based on seismic characteristics from 3.5 kHz SBP and air-gun seismic profiles and 96 grain-size properties in the core sample from YMGR-102. For the underwater simulation and experiments, the in-situ P-wave speeds were calculated using the sound speed ratio of the Hamilton method. The geoacoustic model of YMGR-102 can contribute to the reconstruction of geoacoustic models, reflecting the vertical and lateral variability of the acoustic properties in the continental shelf of the middle Yellow Sea.



초록


    Introduction

    Geoacoustic modeling can simulate sound transmission through sedimentary layers under the sea (Hampton, 1974;Hamilton, 1980;Stoll, 1989;Hovem et al., 1990). A geoacoustic model comprises physical and geoacoustic properties of seafloor sediment and water mass (Hamilton, 1980, 1987; Jackson and Richardson, 2007). Geoacoustic unit is largely controlled by physical properties of sediments such as mean grain size and sediment type in submarine succession. Most reliable properties for low-frequency (<1 kHz) transmission can be obtained in decameterspenetrated long-core sediments. In the middle part of the Yellow Sea, it has lacked for long-core geoacoustic data. This study focused on reconstructing a geoacoustic model of the succession at the core site of YMGR-102 (33° 50.1782'N and 123° 48.3019'E), located on the middle of the Yellow Sea.

    Core YMGR-102 of 69.2 m was acquired in the core site and the water depth is 72.5 m deep. The core sediments consist of alternating terrestrial, paralic, and shallow marine deposits (KIGAM, 2001). Continental shelf areas of shallow-water environments need a detailed geoacoustic model because the environmental parameters should reflect the complex sea bottom showing lateral and vertical variability of acoustic properties (Carey et al., 1995;Jackson and Richardson, 2007;Katsnelson et al., 2012). This study will provide a geoacoustic model at the study core site in continental-shelf environments of the middle Yellow Sea (Fig. 1), based on high-resolution seismic profiles and sedimentary cores acquired for marine geological researches. The geoacoustic model of YMGR-102 will be the first geoacoustic model of decameters subbottom depth in the continental shelf of the middle Yellow Sea.

    Regional Marine Geology

    The Yellow Sea is a shallow epicontinental sea (average 55 m deep), semi-enclosed by the adjacent landmass of China and Korea (Fig. 1). The Yellow Sea experienced glacio-eustasy sea-level fluctuations during the Quaternary period (Chough et al., 2000;Chough, 2013). Relative sea-level fall of highmagnitude (>100 m) during the last glaciation maximum resulted in widespread regressive incisions on the almost entire shelf surface (Lee and Yoon, 1997;Jin and Chough, 1998;Jin et al., 2002;Cummings et al., 2016;Yoo et al., 2016a;Yoo et al., 2016b). During the post-glacial sea-level rise, most of the lowstand incisions were almost filled with transgressive estuarine, paralic, or terrigenous sediments (Lee and Yoon, 1997;Jin and Chough, 1998;Jin et al., 2002). The lowstand and transgressive deposits were mostly covered with the transgressive sand sheet formed during a later phase of the transgression and highstand mud under shallow-marine modern environments (Chough et al., 2013). In the middle of the Yellow Sea, the Quaternary successions were accumulated by alternating terrestrial, paralic, and shallow marine deposits that reflected the fluctuating sea levels.

    The study area is located on the middle part of Jeju Island and the eastern coast of China and the water depth is 72.5 m deep (Fig. 1;KIGAM, 2001). The uppermost seafloor sediments down to ~1.3 m depth in core sediments are characterized by homogeneous mud of relatively high water content with abundant shell fragments (KIGAM, 2001). The homogeneous mud was interpreted as mud sediments of the Huanghe River origin (Fig. 1;KIGAM, 2001).

    Materials and Methods

    A total of 132 line-kilometer profiles of sub-bottom profiler (SBP) and air-gun seismic system was used for reconstruction of the geoacoustic model (Figs. 1- 3). The 3.5 kHz SBP record was acquired with a GeoPulse system (model 137D transducer, 5430A transmitter, and 5210A receiver) of the Korea Institute of Geology, Mining and Materials (KIGAM), setting the main source signal frequency as 3.5 kHz (Fig. 2;KIGAM, 2001). The ship’s navigation was controlled with the global positioning system (GPS) maintaining the speed at about 4-6 knot. Water depth was measured by a dual frequency single beam echo-sounder of 12 and 38 kHz (model EA500, SIMRAD). The seismic profiles were acquired by the air-gun seismic system of KIGAM exploding an air-gun shot at every 2 seconds and receiving bottom reflection signals at every ~5 m interval and (KIGAM, 2001). The navigation was precisely recorded by the differential global positioning system of space-based augmentation system.

    A long core of 69.2 m was acquired at the YMGR- 102 site (33° 50.1782'N and 123° 48.3019'E) using the coring system of R/V KAN407 (Figs. 1, 4;KIGAM, 2001). Core sediments were described for sedimentary facies investigation and sampled for grain-size and physical-property analyses in the laboratory (Table 1; Fig. 4). Grain-size distribution was analyzed on the basis of the standard dry-sieving method for the sand fraction (>63 μm) and of the pipette method for the mud fraction (<63 μm) (KIGAM, 2001). The sediment type of textural parameters was classified by the scheme of Folk and Ward (1957) and Folk (1968). Wet bulk density and porosity of sediment samples were determined by the weight-volume method. A helium-displacement pycnometer (model 1350, Micromeritics) was used to measure the volume of sample. The samples were dried at 105°C for 24 hours in an oven and cooled down in desiccators for about 3 hours. Sample mass was determined within 0.1% error range using electronic balances. Salt correction was made by 0.035 salt content (Boyce, 1976). Temperature compensation and sound speed ratio for the in-situ speed value followed the equation of Mackenzie (1981) using mean temperature and salinity of the water-mass database in a water depth of 0 and 65-75 m at the station (No. 313-10) for 20 years (1995-2014), measured by the Korea Oceanographic Data Center (KODC) (Fig. 1; Table 2).

    Results

    Seismic and sediment data

    Seismic stratigraphy and geology of the study area are represented in KIGAM (2001). Division of geoacoustic units is based on the grain size and sediment type in the core sediments and seismic characteristics in the seismic profiles. Seismic characteristics consist of seafloor topography, surface bedforms, boundary characteristics between seismic units, and acoustic characters in the 3.5 kHz SBP and air-gun seismic profiles. Using the physical properties of long-core sediments and acoustic characteristics of the 3.5 kHz SBP and air-gun seismic profiles, the sedimentary and seismic units of the study area were divisible into four geoacoustic units (GU) within a depth of 70 m below the seafloor.

    The uppermost one, GU 1, is characterized by the uppermost semi-transparent reflections and laterally parallel subbottom reflections with internal reflectors (Figs. 2, 3). The unit is about 29 m thick in the core sediments. The uppermost core sediments in GU 1 are homogeneous sandy mud with high water content and abundant shell fragments including mud balls and burrows (Table 1; Fig. 4). The most core sediments of GU 1 show homogeneous, slightly bioturbated, and laminated mud with sandy laminae (Fig. 4). It is indicative of shallow marine sedimentation during transgression of the sea level (KIGAM, 2001). Seismic characteristics of the underlying GU 2 and 3 shows semi-transparent reflections alternating with faintly stratified or discontinuous reflectors. Core sediment of GU 2 is from 29 to 38 m in depth of the core and that of GU 3 is from 38 to 44 m in depth. The core sediments of GU 2 and 3 represent laminated sand/mud beds and laminated mud beds, respectively. In the air-gun seismic profile, shallow incision depths and cut-and-fill structures with an irregular erosional base suggest that the deposits of GU 2 and 3 were probably influenced by tidal currents during the last regression and the following transgression of the sea (e.g. KIGAM, 2001;Chough et al., 2002;Shinn et al., 2007;Yoon et al., 2022). Seismic characteristics of GU 4 are chaotic or hummocky reflections with partly inclined reflectors. Core sediments of GU 4 is lower than 44 m in depth of the core. The sediments contain faintly stratified sand with abundant shell fragments and laminated sand /mud beds. GU 4 is suggestive of non-marine deposits with an irregular erosional base, formed by fluvial incision during the last regression (e.g. KIGAM, 2001;Jin and Chough, 1998;Jin et al., 2002).

    Physical and geoacoustic property

    Sediment types of GU 1 comprise mud of M and sandy mud of sM according to the Folk scheme (Table 1;KIGAM, 2001). The mean grain size of mud (M) ranges from 6.5 to 8.9 Ф and that of sandy mud (sM) ranges from 5.8 to 7.3 Ф. Sediment types of GU 2 are sandy mud (sM) and muddy sand (mS) with mean grain size ranging from 3.5 to 7.1 Ф, whereas those of GU 3 are mud (M) and sandy mud (sM) with mean grain size ranging from 6.7 to 8.1 Ф. Sediment types of GU 4 are muddy sand (mS), sandy mud (sM), and mud (M) with mean grain size ranging from 2.9 to 6.7 Ф. As physical properties, wet bulk density is in a range of 1.57-1.99 g/cm3 and porosity is 44-80% (Table 1).

    Geoacoustic properties were calculated by regression equations of mean grain size because they were not measured at the time of laboratory experiment. The equation is made using recently measured geoacoustic data in the Yellow Sea (KIGAM, 2014;KIGAM, 2017). Geoacoustic data comprise P-wave speed and attenuation and sound speed ratio. P-wave speed values are calculated using this equation (Table 1),

    P-wave speed (m/s) = 8.199 M z 2 - 130.73 M z +2042.9
    (1)

    where Mz is mean grain size (Ф). The regression equation was based on 868 sets of measured P-wave speed and mean grain size in the Yellow Sea (KIGAM, 2014;KIGAM, 2017;Ryang et al., 2019a, 2019b). The attenuation of P-wave speed was calculated by the regression equation of k=0.697e−0.183Mz (Jackson and Richardson, 2007). The attenuation value is 0.14- 0.41 dB/kHz-m (Table 1). The values of sound speed ratio are the P-wave speed of sediments divided by that of the bottom water (Table 1;Hamilton, 1980). The speed of the bottom water was calculated by the equation of Mackenzie (1981) using the KODC dataset (Fig. 1).

    Geoacoustic Model

    The YMGR-102 core site is located on the gently sloping continental shelf in the middle of the Yellow Sea (Fig. 1). The core sediments mainly represent homogeneous, bioturbated, laminated mud and sandy mud, laminated sand/mud, and faintly stratified sand (Fig. 4). The core lithology is characterized by alternating mud, sandy mud, sand/mud, and sand beds. P-wave speed values are largely compatible with mean grain size and sediment type of the core sediments (Table 1). The coarser grain size is, the faster P-wave speed is. Based on the seismic profiles, core sediment, and geoacoustic data, the subbottom geoacoustic units were reconstructed as a four-layer model for the succession. Depth gradients of P-wave speed were determined at each geoacoustic unit by sediment types of the alternating muddy and sandy units, which were the linear speed gradients of terrigenous environments of the Hamilton (1980) (Table 2; Fig. 5). In the subsurface depth of 0 to 29 m of GU 1, in situ Pwave speeds of this interval ranged from 1494 to 1530 m/s with a depth-gradient term of 1.23 multiplying a depth value (D) below the seafloor (Table 2; Fig. 5;Hamilton, 1980). The P-wave attenuation in GU 1 was averaged to 0.17 db/kHz-m (Table 2). In the remaining GU 2 to 4, the values of in situ P-wave speeds and P-wave attenuation are shown in Table 2 and Figure 5.

    Discussion

    The Yellow Sea experienced an impact of glacioeustasy sea-level fluctuations during Quaternary (Chough et al., 2002;Chough, 2013;Lee et al., 2014;Li et al., 2016;Yoo et al., 2016a;Yoo et al., 2016b;Zhao et al., 2018). Continental shelf sedimentation on the Yellow Sea was characterized by alternating terrestrial, paralic, and shallow marine deposits reflecting the fluctuating sea levels (Yang and Lin, 1991;Marsset et al., 1996;Cummings et al., 2016;Li et al., 2016;Liu et al., 2016;Zhao et al., 2018). In result, the continental shelf sedimentation has a complex depositional history by the sea-level changes (Jin et al., 2002;Shinn et al., 2007). In the middle of the Yellow Sea, the reconstruction of a geoacoustic model should consider the bottom models reflecting vertical variability of acoustic properties. A detailed geoacoustic model is important especially in relatively shallowwater environments because it should reflect the complex sea bottom showing vertical and lateral variability of acoustic properties (Zhou et al., 1987;Carey et al., 1995;Cederberg et al., 1995;Jackson and Richardson, 2007;Katsnelson et al., 2012). This study provided a four-layered geoacoustic model down to 70 m in subbottom depth using the Hamilton method. The model is based on high-resolution seismic profiles and a long core of YMGR-102 although they were acquired for marine geological researches.

    Conclusions

    In the middle of the Yellow Sea, a long core of 69.2 m was acquired at the YMGR-102 site for marine geological researches (Figs, 1, 4). The core site is located on the middle part between Jeju Island and the eastern coast of China and the water depth is 72.5 m deep. A four-layered geoacoustic model was reconstructed for the sedimentary succession, based on seismic characteristics in 3.5 kHz SBP and air-gun seismic profiles and 96 grain-size properties in core YMGR-102. For actual underwater simulation and experiments, the in-situ P-wave speeds were calculated using the sound speed ratio of the Hamilton method. The geoacoustic model of YMGR-102 can contribute to the reconstruction of geoacoustic models reflecting the vertical and lateral variability of acoustic properties in the continental shelf of the middle Yellow Sea.

    Acknowledgments

    The original data of marine geophysics and geology were acquired from the Yellow Sea science program: Study on the marine geology and mineral resources in the Yellow Sea (KIGAM 2000-N-LO-01-A-03). We are grateful to anonymous reviewers for their critical and helpful comments. WHR thanks Ms. Kang, Sol-Ip (Jeonbuk National University) for working the computer graphics. This research was supported by research funds of Jeonbuk National University (2022. 3.-2024. 2.) and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) (NRF-2022R1F1A1063126). SPK was supported by the project of development of the integrated geophysical survey and real-scale data processing technologies for 3D high-resolution imaging of the marine subsurface (GP2020-023) of KIGAM.

    Figure

    JKESS-43-4-520_F1.gif

    (Color online) Geographic location and bathymetry of the study area in the middle of the Yellow Sea (contours in meters) (modified after KIGAM, 2001). Location map of the seismic line, YMGR-102 core site, and water-mass measuring station (No. 313-10) of the Korea Oceanographic Data Center (KODC).

    JKESS-43-4-520_F2.gif

    3.5 kHz SBP with the site of core YMGR-102. See Fig. 1 for the track line. Vertical depth is expressed with two-way travel time in milliseconds.

    JKESS-43-4-520_F3.gif

    Air-gun seismic profile (A) and interpretation (B) of Line 01QT-103 with the core site YMGR-102. See Fig. 1 for the track line. Vertical depth is expressed with two-way travel time in milliseconds.

    JKESS-43-4-520_F4.gif

    Columnar section of core YMGR-102 showing the lithology, sedimentary facies, and geoacoustic units.

    JKESS-43-4-520_F5.gif

    Geoacoustic model at the core site YMGR-102 in the middle of the Yellow Sea (Fig. 1 for location). Equations confer with the text and geoacoustic values in Table 2.

    Table

    Geoacoustic and physical properties of the YMGR-102 core sediments comprise P-wave speed and attenuation, sound speed ratio, wet density, mean grain size, porosity, and sediment type. The P-wave speed and attenuation were measured in the laboratory and were compensated to the condition of 23°C and 1 atm using the sound speed ratio (Hamilton, 1971; 1980). The S-wave speeds were calculated using the regression equation of Jackson and Richardson (2007). Vp P-wave speed, kp P-wave attenuation, Vs S-wave speed, Mz mean grain size, M mud, sM sandy mud, and mS muddy sand

    Location, water depth, temperature, salinity, and p-wave speed of bottom water in the YMGR-102 core sites (see Fig. 1 for location). Geoacoustic model represents in-situ P-wave speed (Vp) and attenuation (kp), S-wave speed (Vs), wet density, and sediment type. Note that the in-situ P-wave speeds were calculated using the sound speed ratio of the Hamilton method (Hamilton, 1980).

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