Abstract

Field experiments were conducted to test the ability of ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to measure stream-channel cross sections at high flows without the necessity of placing instruments in the water. Experiments were conducted at four U.S. Geological Survey gaging stations in southwest Washington State. With the GPR antenna suspended above the water surface from a bridge or cableway, traverses were made across stream channels to collect radar profile plots of the streambed. Subsequent measurements of water depth were made using conventional depth-measuring equipment (weight and tape) and were used to calculate radar signal velocities. Other streamflow-parameter data were collected to examine their relation to radar signal velocity and to clarity of streambed definition. These initial tests indicate that GPR is capable of producing a reasonably accurate (±20%) stream-channel profile and discharge far more quickly than conventional stream-gaging procedures, while avoiding the problems and hazards associated with placing instruments in the water.

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