Extraction of Seabed/Subsurface Features in a Potential CO2 Sequestration Site in the Southern Baltic Sea, Using Wavelet Transform of High-resolution Sub-Bottom Profiler Data

Friday, 19 December 2014
Jaroslaw Tegowski and Grzegorz Zajfert, University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland
Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) efficiently prevents the release of anthropogenic CO2 into the atmosphere. We investigate a potential site in the Polish Sector of the Baltic Sea (B3 field site), consisting in a depleted oil and gas reservoir. An area ca. 30 x 8 km was surveyed along 138 acoustic transects, realised from R/V St. Barbara in 2012 and combining multibeam echosounder, sidescan sonar and sub-bottom profiler. Preparation of CCS sites requires accurate knowledge of the subsurface structure of the seafloor, in particular deposit compactness. Gas leaks in the water column were monitored, along with the structure of upper sediment layers. Our analyses show the shallow sub-seabed is layered, and quantified the spatial distribution of gas diffusion chimneys and seabed effusion craters. Remote detection of gas-containing surface sediments can be rather complex if bubbles are not emitted directly into the overlying water and thus detectable acoustically. The heterogeneity of gassy sediments makes conventional bottom sampling methods inefficient. Therefore, we propose a new approach to identification, mapping, and monitoring of potentially gassy surface sediments, based on wavelet analysis of echo signal envelopes of a chirp sub-bottom profiler (EdgeTech SB-0512). Each echo envelope was subjected to wavelet transformation, whose coefficients were used to calculate wavelet energies. The set of echo envelope parameters was input to fuzzy logic and c-means algorithms. The resulting classification highlights seafloor areas with different subsurface morphological features, which can indicate gassy sediments. This work has been conducted under EC FP7-CP-IP project No. 265847: Sub-seabed CO2 Storage: Impact on Marine Ecosystems (ECO2).