Studying seafloor bedforms using autonomous stationary imaging and profiling sonars

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Abstract

The Sediment Transport Group at the U.S. Geological Survey, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center uses downward looking sonars deployed on seafloor tripods to assess and measure the formation and migration of bedforms. The sonars have been used in three resolution-testing experiments, and deployed autonomously to observe changes in the seafloor for up to two months in seven field experiments since 2002. The sonar data are recorded concurrently with measurements of waves and currents to: a) relate bedform geometry to sediment and flow characteristics; b) assess hydrodynamic drag caused by bedforms; and c) estimate bedform sediment transport rates, all with the goal of evaluating and improving numerical models of these processes. Our hardware, data processing methods, and test and validation procedures have evolved since 2001. We now employ a standard sonar configuration that provides reliable data for correlating flow conditions with bedform morphology. Plans for the future are to sample more rapidly and improve the precision of our tripod orientation measurements.

Additional publication details

Publication type Conference Paper
Publication Subtype Conference Paper
Title Studying seafloor bedforms using autonomous stationary imaging and profiling sonars
ISBN 9781479913084
DOI 10.23919/OCEANS.2013.6741159
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher MTS/IEEE
Contributing office(s) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 7 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Conference publication
Larger Work Title OCEANS 2013: Proceedings of a meeting held 23-27 September 2013, San Diego, California, USA
Conference Title OCEANS '13
Conference Location San Diego, CA
Conference Date September 23-27, 2013