Classical chaos in nonseparable wave propagation problems

David R. Palmer, Michael G. Brown, Frederick D. Tappert, Hugo F. Bezdek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Numerical calculations show that acoustic ray paths in a weakly range‐dependent deterministic ocean model exhibit chaotic behavior, that is, have an exponentially sensitive dependence on initial conditions. Since the ray equations define a nonautonomous Hamiltonian system with one degree of freedom, these results may be understood in terms of recent advances in classical chaos. The Hamiltonian structure of ray equations in general suggests that chaotic ray trajectories will be present in all types of linear wave motion in geophysics when variables do not separate, as in laterally inhomogeneous media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)569-572
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1988
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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