Dual-frequency side-looking sonars have the potential to be used as remote sensing tools to characterize subaqueous terrains. In one case study of the carbonate-ooze-coated Blake Plateau offshore of Georgia, U.S.A., the difference in acoustic attenuation for 50 and 20 mm wavelengths (30 and 72 kHz frequency) permits the discrimination of sub-bottom scatterers from seabed surface textural features to reveal patchy regions where a buried hard ground had been pock-marked by karst-like depressions. In a second study of the Upper Hudson River in New York, U.S.A., related to environmental contaminates, the backscatter response at 15 and 3 mm acoustic wavelengths (100 and 500 kHz frequency) serves as a useful proxy for sediment grain size with coarser detritus distinguished from finer sediments. Sand and gravel regions inferred from the backscatter were confirmed by ground truth sampling.
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