Ground-penetrating radar was used to measure the depth and extent of existing and infilled scour holes and previous scour surfaces at seven bridges in New Hampshire from April 1996 to November 1998. Ground-penetrating-radar survey techniques initially were used by the U.S. Geological Survey to study streambed scour at 30 bridges. Sixteen of the 30 bridges were re-surveyed where floods exceeded a 2-year recurrence interval. A 300-megahertz signal was used in the ground-penetrating radar system that penetrated through depths as great as 20 feet of water and as great as 32 feet of streambed materials. Existing scour-hole dimensions, infilled thickness, previous scour surfaces, and streambed materials were detected using ground-penetrating radar. Depths to riprap materials and pier footings were identified and verified with bridge plans. Post data-collection-processing techniques were applied to assist in the interpretation of the data, and the processed data were displayed and printed as line plots. Processing included distance normalization, migration, and filtering but processing was kept to a minimum and some interference from multiple reflections was left in the record. Of the 16 post-flood bridges, 22 ground-penetrating-radar cross sections at 7 bridges were compared and presented in this report. Existing scour holes were detected during 1996 (pre-flood) data collection in nine cross sections where scour depths ranged from 1 to 3 feet. New scour holes were detected during 1998 (post-flood) data collection in four cross sections where scour depths were as great as 4 feet deep. Infilled scour holes were detected in seven cross sections, where depths of infilling ranged from less than 1 to 4 feet. Depth of infilling by means of steel rod and hammer was difficult to verify in the field because of cobble and boulder streambeds or deep water. Previous scour surfaces in streambed materials were identified in 15 cross sections and the depths to these surfaces ranged from 1 to 10 feet below the streambed. Riprap materials or pier footings were identified in all cross sections. Calculated record depths generally agree with bridge plans. Pier footings were exposed at two bridges and steel pile was exposed at one bridge. Exposures were verified by field observations.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Use of a ground-penetrating radar system to detect pre-and post-flood scour at selected bridge sites in New Hampshire, 1996-98
Water-Resources Investigations Report
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey ;
Information Services [distributor],