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Graduate Defense: Scott Gauvain

April 28 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm MDT

Thesis Defense

Thesis Information

Title: Acoustic and Morphological Properties of Turbulent Fluvial Features

Program: Master of Science in Geophysics

Advisor: Dr. Jacob Anderson, Geosciences

Committee Members: Dr. James McNamara, Geosciences, and Dr. Elowyn Yager, Geosciences


Rivers, streams, and tributaries play a critical role in the global water cycle and their dispersion of freshwater is essential for widespread human consumption, crop irrigation, waste management, and hydropower generation. Currently, there is a need for innovative, non-invasive, and low cost methods of surface freshwater discharge monitoring. With careful site selection, recording the acoustics produced at the air-water interface of turbulent streamflow could be used reliably and inexpensively to infer changes in local discharge. Acoustics are not being used to track streamflow and it is not clear how the relationship between discharge and sound changes among variations of river flow and channel morphology. To address this, I record and characterize sound and infrasound produced by morphologically unique features of the Boise River and Dry Creek in Southern Idaho across multi-year spans. Using a flume and a custom-made adjustable plunging jet, I record acoustics produced by plunging jet streamflow conditions at several scales of discharge and morphology to understand how channel and turbulence morphologies influence acoustic properties and may explain observed discharge-sound uncertainties. Determining which channel and flow morphologies produce a clear, predictable discharge-sound relationship and recognizing uncertainty sources can help bring acoustic stream gauging from a promising idea to a useful field method.