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Passive acoustic monitoring of bed load for fluvial applications

R. R. Rigby, G. G. Wren, A. A. Kuhnle
Journal of Hydraulic Engineering 2016 v.142 no.8 pp. 02516003-1
acoustics, bedload, edge effects, emissions, marine environment, monitoring, rivers, sediment transport, sediments, streams
The sediment transported as bed load in streams and rivers is notoriously difficult to monitor cheaply and accurately. Passive acoustic methods are relatively simple, inexpensive, and provide spatial integration along with high temporal resolution. In 1963 work began on monitoring emissions from particle-on-particle collisions termed sediment-generated noise (SGN). Until the late 20th century, investigations tended to be qualitative and demonstrated the promise of the method. Beginning in the 1980s, efforts were focused on fundamental physical processes in marine settings. More recent research has renewed the emphasis on fluvial settings, but a number of outstanding questions remain. In particular far less attention has been given to the acoustic physical environment of fluvial applications compared with marine settings. This paper reviews the development of SGN as a quantitative bed load monitoring technique. Key differences in the acoustics of the fluvial and marine settings are highlighted, such as the waveguide effects and boundary interactions in rivers, and next steps for the development of SGN techniques are suggested.