The point scatteringmodel offers a parameterization of the reverberation probability density function (pdf) in terms of the coefficient of excess (kurtosis) and a coherent component represented by a harmonic process with random phase. In this paper the potential utility of this parametrization is investigated in the context of seafloor characterization. The problem of separating out the effect of each parameter is discussed. Computer simulations are used to verify model predictions on the reverberation quadrature, envelope, and phase pdf. As part of the verification study, the scatterer density was determined from the kurtosis of the reverberation quadrature pdf. A statistical analysis of this procedure points to reduced estimate accuracy with decreasing kurtosis. Additional computer simulations show that the chosen pdf family, developed under the assumption of a Poissonscatterer distribution, is flexible enough to fit reverberation data generated by non‐Poisson scatterer distributions exhibiting a degree of clustering or regularity. A computer experiment demonstrates how this parametrization can be used in conjunction with a simple sonar geometry to generate acoustic signatures for seafloor classification. In addition, real reverberation data collected by a Sea Beam sonar system in two different seafloor areas are interpreted according to the chosen parametrization.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

Journal of the Acoustical Society of America


91, Issue 3



Publisher Place

Melville, NY, USA


Acoustical Society of America

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


Document Type

Journal Article