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Bob Odom

APL-UW Assistant Director & Senior Principal Physicist

Research Associate Professor, Earth and Space Sciences






Bob Odom's expertise is in acoustic and elastic wave propagation. He is principal investigator on projects to model propagation in range-dependent shallow water with elastic bottom effects and to develop improvements to the Navy bottom backscatter/bottom loss models and databases at mid-frequencies.

Dr. Odom holds B.S. M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Washington in physics, nuclear engineering, and geophyics, respectively. He joined the Laboratory in 1990 and now serves as Principal Physicist and Assistant Director for Education and Development. He is also a Research Associate Professor in the UW Department of Earth and Space Sciences.

Department Affiliation

Director's Office


B.S. Physics, University of Washington, 1971

M.S. Nuclear Engineering, University of Washington, 1973

Ph.D. Geophysics, University of Washington, 1980


2000-present and while at APL-UW

Modeling explosion generated Scholte waves in sandy sediments with power law dependent shear wave speed

Soloway, A.G., P.H. Dahl, and R.I. Odom, "Modeling explosion generated Scholte waves in sandy sediments with power law dependent shear wave speed," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 138, EL370-374, doi:10.1121/1.4931831, 2015

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9 Oct 2015

Experimental measurements of Scholte waves from underwater explosions collected off the coast of Virginia Beach, VA in shallow water are presented. It is shown here that the dispersion of these explosion-generated Scholte waves traveling in the sandy seabed can be modeled using a power-law dependent shear wave speed profile and an empirical source model that determines the pressure time-series at 1%u2009m from the source as a function of TNT-equivalent charge weight.

Sounds in the ocean at 1–100 Hz

Wilcock, W.S.D., K.M. Stafford, R.K. Andrew, and R.I. Odom, "Sounds in the ocean at 1–100 Hz," Ann. Rev. Mar. Sci., 6, 117-140, doi:10.1146/annurev-marine-121211-172423, 2014.

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1 Jan 2014

Very-low-frequency sounds between 1 and 100 Hz propagate large distances in the ocean sound channel. Weather conditions, earthquakes, marine mammals, and anthropogenic activities influence sound levels in this band. Weather-related sounds result from interactions between waves, bubbles entrained by breaking waves, and the deformation of sea ice. Earthquakes generate sound in geologically active regions, and earthquake T waves propagate throughout the oceans. Blue and fin whales generate long bouts of sounds near 20 Hz that can dominate regional ambient noise levels seasonally. Anthropogenic sound sources include ship propellers, energy extraction, and seismic air guns and have been growing steadily. The increasing availability of long-term records of ocean sound will provide new opportunities for a deeper understanding of natural and anthropogenic sound sources and potential interactions between them.

Modal investigation of elastic anisotropy in shallow-water environments: Anisotropy beyond vertical transverse isotropy

Soukup, D.J., R.I. Odom, and J. Park, "Modal investigation of elastic anisotropy in shallow-water environments: Anisotropy beyond vertical transverse isotropy," J. Acoust. Soc. Am., 134, 185-206, doi:10.1121/1.4809721, 2013.

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1 Jul 2013

Theoretical and numerical results are presented for modal characteristics of the seismo-acoustic wavefield in anisotropic range-independent media. General anisotropy affects the form of the elastic-stiffness tensor, particle-motion polarization, the frequency and angular dispersion curves, and introduces near-degenerate modes. Horizontally polarized particle motion (SH) cannot be ignored when anisotropy is present for low-frequency modes having significant bottom interaction. The seismo-acoustic wavefield has polarizations in all three coordinate directions even in the absence of any scattering or heterogeneity. Even weak anisotropy may have a significant impact on seismo-acoustic wave propagation. Unlike isotropic and transversely isotropic media with a vertical symmetry axis where acoustic signals comprise P-SV modes alone (in the absence of any scattering), tilted TI media allow both quasi-P-SV and quasi-SH modes to carry seismo-acoustic energy. Discrete modes for an anisotropic medium are best described as generalized P-SV-SH modes with polarizations in all three Cartesian directions. Conversion to SH is a loss that will mimic acoustic attenuation. An in-water explosion will excite quasi-SH.

More Publications

Acoustics Air-Sea Interaction & Remote Sensing Center for Environmental & Information Systems Center for Industrial & Medical Ultrasound Electronic & Photonic Systems Ocean Engineering Ocean Physics Polar Science Center