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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT OF ACOUSTIC & SEISMIC TECHNOLOGY TO CHARACTERIZE SOILS, ASSESS WATER CONTENT, & REDUCE PRODUCTION COSTS

Location: Watershed Physical Processes Research Unit

2009 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
The objective of this cooperative research program is to measure and model the propagation of seismic/acoustic waves in soils to better describe soil physical properties. This will include development of reliable acoustic and seismic technologies for the nondestructive measurement of both soil and crop variables that affect water availability and plant growth in food and fiber production systems. Of particular interest will be the development and measurement of acoustic/seismic coupling in sealing susceptible soils and in characterization of soil compaction. This effort will include development and construction and deployment of prototype instrumentation for measuring rate and total load of sediment discharge and changes in bed topography in alluvial channels. This effort will also include development of acoustic techniques for delineation and characterization of sediment accumulations within flood control structures.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Field and laboratory studies will be conducted to measure the acoustic/seismic response of soils in various management conditions and sediment-laden flows in channel systems. Results will be analyzed, evaluated, and compiled with conventional measuring techniques. Laboratory studies will primarily address fundamental aspects of acoustic measurements, improve acoustic techniques and technology, and assist in the interpretation of acquired data. Field studies will be designed to evaluate practical applications of acoustic measurements for a wide range of soil and surface conditions and flow regimes. Instrumentation will be directed toward the design and development of specific monitors and sensors capable of measuring bulk flow, and hydraulic and sediment load properties in alluvial channel systems and of instrumentation for determining the storage capacity and integrity of flood control structures.


3.Progress Report

Since this project was not funded in this year, efforts using residual funding remaining from the previous year to complete analysis and publications documenting prior research. Papers were completed and accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals for: - Zhiqu Lu and James M. Sabatier, “ Effects of Soil Water Potential and Moisture Content on Sound Speed, accepted for publication in the Soil Science Society of America Journal. - Howard, W.B. and Hickey, C.J. “Investigation of the near subsurface using acoustic to seismic coupling,” accepted for publication in Ecohydrology - Leary, D., DiCarlo, D.A., and Hickey, C.J. “Acoustic techniques for studying soil-surface seals and crusts,” accepted for publication in Ecohydrology. The National Center for Physical Acoustics (NCPA) made 13 presentations at the National Sedimentation Laboratory: 50 Years of Soil and Water Research in a Changing Agricultural Environment Symposium, 3-5 September 2009: NCPA also conducted an international workshop from 9-12 February 2009 to explore the state-of-the-art in earthen embankment inspection and monitoring research and practice, to identify technologies and methods that might be applied in the near term, and to define a roadmap for future research investment. This roadmap identifies long-term objectives, promising technologies, key participants, necessary resources, and a course of action to meet the long-term objectives. To achieve these objectives, experts in applicable fields were identified and brought together from government, industry, and academia. The meeting involved a variety of experts, including members of the Army Corps of Engineers, USDA, Department. of Homeland Security, academia, and foreign nationals from Japan, Israel, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. This workshop also received funding from the Army Research Office.


Last Modified: 7/25/2014
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