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Scientific Investigations Map 3198

Prepared in cooperation with the Kentucky Utilities Company

Methods for Noninvasive Bathymetric and Velocity Surveys for Impoundment Safety—A Case Study of Herrington Lake at Dix Dam near Burgin, Kentucky

By A. Thomas Ruby, III

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (1.86 MB)Abstract

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) created bathymetric-contour and water-velocity vector maps for portions of Lake Herrington within 600 feet of the face of Dix Dam near Burgin, Kentucky. The mapping was in support of a study of noninvasive acoustic technology for assessing structural integrity of dams, both as a routine inspection tool or as an emergency tool during hydrologic events, such as high water or flooding. In April 2010, scientists from the USGS used a boat-mounted transducer and echo sounder to obtain bathymetric data to characterize lakebed relief and sediment distribution under a closed-intake condition. Also in April 2010, an acoustic Doppler current profiler was employed to measure water velocity and flow direction in the lake to locate velocities moving toward the dam face and, possibly, dam leakage.

The bathymetric survey showed the present condition of fill in the reservoir since the dam was completed, as well as provided an outline of the lake floor. The velocity survey indicated no discernible flow pattern or direction within the study area; only one transect had shown a difference from the others that was noticeable. The noninvasive acoustic bathymetric and velocity surveys used during the case study showed promise in locating potential dam or intake maintenance areas. Additional case studies throughout the Nation are needed to more clearly define whether the methods for noninvasive bathymetric and velocity surveys for dam safety will be successful in a variety of settings.

First posted March 30, 2012

For additional information contact:
A. Thomas Ruby, III
U.S. Geological Survey
9818 Bluegrass Parkway
Louisville, Kentucky 40299
Telephone: 502–493-1933
Fax: 502–493-1909

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Suggested citation:

Ruby, A.T., III, 2012, Methods for noninvasive bathymetric and velocity surveys for impoundment safety—A case study of Herrington Lake at Dix Dam near Burgin, Kentucky: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3198, 1 sheet, available at




Purpose and Scope



Bathymetric Data Collection and Processing

Velocity Data Collection and Processing

Bathmetric Survey Quality Assurance/Calibration

Velocity Survey Quality Assurance/Calibration

Survey Results

References Cited

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