Peer Reviewed Publication
Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Underwater noise from impact pile driving of 512-m-long conductor casings was measured at a deep-water offshore oil platform in the Santa Barbara Channel. Beamforming measurements, obtained with a vertical array, confirmed that the primary wave front generated by hammering the conductor casing was a Mach cone propagating at an angle of 17.6° below the horizontal. Analysis of the processed array data also revealed the presence of high-frequency secondary waves at angles steeper than 45° below the horizontal. These secondary waves, which appeared to be generated near the sea-surface, dominated the acoustic spectrum of the pulses at frequencies above 1kHz. Shallow hydrophone measurements outside the Mach cone showed clear evidence of a surface shadow zone, which was caused by the strong downward directivity of the source. Although reflected waves, diffraction, and secondary waves still produced sound inside the surface shadow zone, sound levels were 10–15dB lower in this region. Long-term hydrophone measurements showed that there was little difference (±1dB) in mean sound levels from impact hammering of different conductors installed at the same platform over three months.
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