Western Coastal and Marine Geology

U.S. Geological Survey
Open-File Report 2007-1232
Version 1.0

Seabed Ripple Morphology and Surficial Sediment Size at the SAX04 Experiments near Fort Walton Beach, Florida, Fall 2004

By Daniel M. Hanes, Li H. Erikson, Jamie M.R. Lescinski, Jodi N. Harney, Carissa L. Carter, Gerry A. Hatcher, Jessica R. Lacy, David M. Rubin


Original BSC images for drops B5 and G0, Cruise I.
Original BSC images for drops B5 and G0, Cruise I.


Data presented in this report originates from measurements obtained off the Florida coast (fig. 1) as part of the Sediment Acoustics Experiment (SAX04) and Ripples Department Research Initiative (DRI) (Office of Naval Research (ONR), Critical Benthic Environmental Processes and Modeling, Long Range BAA 04-001, Sept. 10, 2003). The aim of this document is to present methods employed to extract data and the resulting measured ripple characteristics (ripple height, wavelength, and orientation) and seabed grain sizes. Application and analysis of the data with respect to hydro- and morphodynamics will be addressed in subsequent reports.

Sediment transport in the coastal region is a complex process involving interactions between flow dynamics, sediments, and bedforms. Sediment type and bed geometry directly influence entrainment of sediments into suspension, and at sites where ripples occur (sand formations on the order of several cm high and less than two meter long wavelengths), the understanding of ripple dynamics is an essential component in improving sediment transport models. To gain a better understanding and ability to predict sediment transport, a field study was undertaken to investigate morphology, orientation, and dynamics of ripples on the seafloor. The data obtained from the field campaign also supports an on-going effort to study the effects of ripples on low grazing acoustic penetration into sandy marine sediments for the detection of objects, such as mines (Jackson and others, 2002).

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