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Sub-Bottom Profiler

Seeing Through the Mud and Sediment

From a technical perspective, sub-bottom profiling systems (also often called CHIRP because of the sound they make) are used to identify and characterize layers of sediment or rock under the seafloor. A transducer emits a sound pulse vertically downwards towards the seafloor, and a receiver records the return of the pulse once it has been reflected off the seafloor. Parts of the sound pulse will penetrate the seafloor and be reflected off of the different sub-bottom layers. The data that is obtained using this system provides information on these sub-floor sediment layers. So what?


After 62 years of sitting on the bottom of the St. Lawrence Seaway, there is a good chance that the aircraft we are searching for may have some dirt on them - they might even be buried. A side-scan sonar would not show this as it only shows us the surface of the sea bed. A sub-bottom profiler, however, would reveal our aircraft even if it is covered with sediment.

Sub-Bottom Profiler
Image Courtesy of Sonar Research & Development LTD

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