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We present 3-D images of ocean fine structure from a unique industry-collected 3-D multichannel seismic dataset from the Gulf of Mexico that includes expendable bathythermograph casts for both swaths. 2-D processing reveals strong laterally continuous reflections throughout the upper ∼800m as well as a few weaker but still distinct reflections as deep as ∼1100 m. We interpret the reflections to be caused by reversible fine structure from internal wave strains. Two bright reflections are traced across the 225-mwide swath to produce reflection surface images that illustrate the 3-D nature of ocean fine structure. We show that the orientation of linear features in a reflection can be obtained by calculating the orientations of contours of reflection relief, or more robustly, by fitting a sinusoidal surface to the reflection. Preliminary 3-D processing further illustrates the potential of 3-D seismic data in interpreting images of oceanic features such as internal wave strains. This work demonstrates the viability of imaging oceanic fine structure in 3-D and shows that, beyond simply providing a way visualize oceanic fine structure, quantitative information such as the spatial orientation of features like fronts and solitons can be obtained from 3-D seismic images. We expect complete, optimized 3-D processing to improve both the signal to noise ratio and spatial resolution of our images resulting in increased options for analysis and interpretation. © 2010 Author(s).

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Ocean Science

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.