Chirp sub-bottom profilers are marine sonar systems which use a highly repeatable source signature to facilitate the acquisition of correlated data with decimetre vertical resolution in the top 20–30 m of sediments. Source signatures can be readily developed and implemented, but an applicable methodology for assessing resolution and attenuation characteristics of these wide-band systems did not exist. Methodologies are developed and applied to seven contrasting source signatures which occupy the same frequency band, but differ in their Envelope and Instantaneous Frequency functions. For the Chirp source signatures tested, a Sine-Squared envelope function is shown to produce seismic data with the optimum resolution and penetration characteristics
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