This manual describes the operation and testing procedures for two models of a multi-port suspended sediment sampler that are moored in the coastal ocean and that collect samples on a programmable time schedule that can be interrupted to collect during a storm. The ability to sense and collect samples before, during, and after the height of a storm is a unique feature of these instruments because it provides samples during conditions when it is difficult or impossible to sample from a surface ship. The sensors used to trigger storm sampling are a transmissometer or a pressure sensor. The purpose of such samples is to assess composition and concentration of sediment resuspended from the seafloor during storms and subsequently transported within the coastal system. Both light transmission and the standard deviation of pressure from surface waves correlate with the passage of major storms. The instruments successfully identified the onset of storms and collected samples before, during, and after the storm maximum as programmed. The accuracy of determining suspended matter concentrations collected by the sediment sampler has not been fully evaluated. Preliminary laboratory tests using a suspension of muddy sediment collected in a near-bottom sediment trap yielded excellent results. However in laboratory tests with different sediment types, the suspended matter concentrations determined with these samplers became less accurate with increasing average grain size. Future calibration work is necessary and should be conducted in a facility that ideally has a water depth of at least 30 feet to prevent cavitation of the pump that draws sea water through the filters. The test facility should also have the capability for adding suspended matter of known composition and concentration to a fixed volume of seawater that is well mixed.
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USGS Numbered Series
An operation manual for a time-series, storm-activated suspended sediment sampler deployed in the coastal ocean: function, maintenance, and testing procedures