Use of surface-geophysical methods to assess riverbed scour at bridge piers

Water-Resources Investigations Report 88-4212




A ground-penetrating-radar system, and three seismic systems--color fathometer, tuned transducer, and black-and-white fathometer--were used to evaluate river-bed scour at the Charter Oak, Founder 's and Bulkeley Bridges in Hartford, Connecticut. Cross-sections of the channel and some lateral sections were run at each bridge in June and July 1987, and significant scour at piers supporting each of these bridges was recorded. Each of the four geophysical systems proved to have advantages and limitations. The ground penetrating radar system used single and dual 80 megahertz antennae floating in the water to transmit and receive the signal. The method was successful in water less than 25 ft deep, and in resistive earth materials. The geometry of existing scour holes and the extent of post-scour sedimentation were clearly defined. The color fathometer, operating at a signal frequency of 20 kilohertz, delineated existing scour-hole geometry, detected infilling of scour holes, and provided qualitative information about the physical properties of sediments. The tuned transducer, operating at a signal frequency of 14 kilohertz, defined scour-hole geometry and the extent of post-scour sediment deposition. Both of these systems were effective in water greater than 5 ft deep. At a signal frequency of 200 kilohertz, the black-and-white fathometer could not penetrate post-scour deposits, but it was useful in defining existing scour-holed geometry in water of any depth. (USGS)

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Use of surface-geophysical methods to assess riverbed scour at bridge piers
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Water-Resources Investigations Report
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U.S. Geological Survey ; Books and Open-File Reports, Federal Center,
v, 33 p. :ill., one map ;28 cm.