Seismic reflection imaging of large-amplitude lee waves in the Caribbean Sea
Article first published online: 1 NOV 2011
Copyright 2011 by the American Geophysical Union.
Geophysical Research Letters
Volume 38, Issue 21, November 2011
How to Cite
2011), Seismic reflection imaging of large-amplitude lee waves in the Caribbean Sea, Geophys. Res. Lett., 38, L21601, doi:10.1029/2011GL049157., , and (
- Issue published online: 1 NOV 2011
- Article first published online: 1 NOV 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 23 SEP 2011
- Manuscript Revised: 22 SEP 2011
- Manuscript Received: 4 AUG 2011
- large-amplitude lee waves
 Results from the first testing of the R/V Marcus Langseth as a platform for collecting seismic reflection data from the water column of the ocean demonstrate that large-amplitude lee waves can be acoustically mapped. A seismic profile collected in the Caribbean Sea offshore Costa Rica shows disturbances in finestructure, which we interpret to be lee waves, propagating hundreds of meters vertically through the water column above seafloor ridges. Waves show vertical displacements of 30–50 m and horizontal wavelengths of 300–3000 m. Reflector displacement spectra calculated in the region containing the lee waves exceed Garrett-Munk energy levels by up to a factor of 10 at horizontal wavelengths of 300–3000 m, suggesting a locally derived source of internal wave energy consistent with our interpretation. Our results show that it is possible to image large-scale lee waves, a phenomenon potentially responsible for dissipation and mixing within the ocean.