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Sediment Transport Research and Sidescan-Sonar Surveying in the Grand Canyon

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Inflatable boat on Colorado River
On the Colorado River: The inflatable boat (snout rig) used for the sidescan-sonar operation along the Colorado River. An aluminum frame mounted to the inner frame of the boat facilitated the deployment and retrieval of the sidescan-sonar fish (not visible in the photo). White boxes housed the electronics used in the operation. Umbrellas served to keep electronics and scientists cool. Overall length of the boat is 22 ft. (7.5 m).
Dave Rubin, Hank Chezar, and colleagues from the Water Resources Divison (WRD) in Denver and Glen Canyon Monitoring and Research Center (GCMRC) in Flagstaff, Arizona, joined forces on the Colorado River last month.

First, they investigated sediment-transport dynamics using underwater video, a current meter, and sediment sampling above Lee's Ferry, Arizona. Then, between May 25th and June 5th they conducted a successful sidescan-sonar survey along the first 240 miles of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon, from Glen Canyon Dam to Diamond Creek.

Personnel from CMG and WRD, Denver, teamed up as part of GCMRC's ongoing program of monitoring sediment distribution and grain-size variability in Grand Canyon. The intrepid sidescan-sonar crew, responsible for collecting the best data set to date, consisted of Carol Reiss, Mike Hamer, Dave Hogg, and Roberto Anima. Bob Bohannon took the lead in the sediment sampling part of the cruise. Variable weather, with high and fast water conditions and unforeseen events, combined to make this a memorable cruise.

Section of sidescan-sonar data Section of sidescan-sonar data collected approximately 1 kilometer above the Little Colorado River. The data cover 50 meters on each side of the boat track, showing the variation in bottom types and the high resolution of the imagery. Sidescan-sonar data were collected from Glen Canyon Dam to Diamond Creek, a distance of 240 miles.

Related Web Sites
Glen Canyon Monitoring and Research Center (GCMRC)
U.S. Government
Water Resources of Colorado
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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