Laterally heterogeneous and complex near-surface sediment structures in shallow water environments like the North Sea, where the Pleistocene sedimentation is influenced by alternating glacial, post-glacial and marine processes, require acoustic imaging methods and tools optimized for vertical resolution but also for complex geometric settings and a broad variety of sediment types. While sediment echosounders are indispensable tools to image the uppermost few metres of the sediment column and the soft infill of shallow depressions, they quickly come to their limits in terms of penetration, especially in the North Sea with the sand rich top deposits. The Bremen multichannel seismic system represents a special streamer design specifically developed to operate in shallow water conditions and to still provide undistorted signals at wide incidence angles. Combined with a high frequency seismic source this system allows detailed analysis of the upper few hundreds of metres North Sea sediment. To illustrate the achievable quality in this setting some typical examples of glacial and postglacial structures in the German North Sea are presented, where the different systems show their individual strengths.


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