Field Investigation of Sub-Isokinetic Sampling by the US D-96-Type Suspended-Sediment Sampler and its Effect on Suspended-Sediment Measurements

Open-File Report 2022-1077
By: , and 



Collection of accurate suspended-sediment data using depth-integrating samplers requires that they operate isokinetically, that is, that they sample at the local stream velocity unaffected by the presence of the suspended-sediment sampler. Sub-isokinetic suspended-sediment sampling causes grain-size dependent positive biases in the suspended-sediment concentration measured by the suspended-sediment sampler. Collapsible bag suspended-sediment samplers like the US D-96 and the lighter US D-96-A1 depth-integrating samplers have shown a tendency to sample sub-isokinetically under low stream velocities (below ~3.5 feet per second), colder water temperatures, and longer sampling durations. Previous work concluded that the time-dependent decrease in the intake efficiency of the US D-96-type sampler could be partially overcome by increasing the venting of water from the sampler cavity by shortening the sampler tray. The standard-length sampler tray partially blocks the rear vent hole; shortening the sampler tray effectively increases the area of the sampler-cavity rear vent hole. This previous work showed that removing the partial blockage of the rear vent hole caused by the sampler tray resulted in both an increase in intake efficiency and a decrease in the positive bias in measured suspended-sand concentration.

Herein, a series of tests were conducted on the Colorado River in Arizona using different modifications to a US D-96-A1 sampler to see if physical enlargement of the rear vent hole would produce further improvements in intake efficiency. Results from these tests show that physical enlargement of the rear vent hole, beyond that already effectively achieved by shortening the sampler tray, did not result in any further improvement in intake efficiency. However, these tests also indicated that physically increasing the area of the rear vent hole did not affect the suspended-sediment data collected by the US D-96-A1 sampler. Furthermore, comparisons of suspended-sediment data collected using the US D-96-A1 sampler and the isokinetic US P-61-A1 point-integrating sampler show that the suspended-sediment data collected by the US D-96-type sampler can be accurate in certain circumstances despite the tendency of this sampler to sample sub-isokinetically over the entire depth of a sampling vertical. We surmise that this result could arise from the US D-96-A1 sampler collecting sample isokinetically when the water-sediment mixture enters the nozzle, but that the water-sediment mixture only enters the nozzle intermittently while the sampler transits a sampling vertical.

Suggested Citation

Sabol, T.A., Topping, D.J., Griffiths, R.E., and Dramais, G., 2022, Field investigation of sub-isokinetic sampling by the US D-96-type suspended-sediment sampler and its effect on suspended-sediment measurements: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2022-1077, 14 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract 
  • Introduction 
  • Study Sites 
  • Methods 
  • Results 
  • Conclusions 
  • References
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Field investigation of sub-isokinetic sampling by the US D-96-type suspended-sediment sampler and its effect on suspended-sediment measurements
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2022-1077
DOI 10.3133/ofr20221077
Year Published 2022
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description v, 14 p.
Country United States
State Arizona
Other Geospatial Colorado River
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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