2022 Undergraduate Research Showcase


Sound Dependence on Discharge and Wave Configuration at Boise Whitewater Park

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Student Presentation


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Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Jake Anderson


In this study, infrasound (a low-frequency sound below human hearing) is used to investigate the relationship between sound and stream characteristics at Boise Whitewater Park. Boise Whitewater Park is an artificial, adjustable dam that changes on a daily, weekly, and seasonal basis to accommodate recreation and irrigation demands. Past research indicates that a relationship between infrasound and discharge exists, but not the specifics of this relationship. To better understand this relationship, discharge and recorded data during the 2016 and 2021 flow seasons was gathered and analyzed. In particular, infrasound was compared with discharge (the amount of water passing through a stream at a given time) and wave configuration (the type and shape of the water wave created by Whitewater Park).

These findings could serve as important evidence of the potential of measuring stream data using acoustic sensors rather than the current measurement infrastructure, which uses in-stream sensors to monitor flow. Broadly, acoustic sensors could be used to measure annual discharge, flooding events, and used as a monitoring tool to indicate hazardous waves. This current study’s findings indicate that on a seasonal scale, infrasound data correlates with peaks in discharge but not as much with smaller changes. Additionally, differences in infrasound based on wave configuration were found to be weaker or not visible beneath a certain discharge. Future work on this subject can reveal more about discharge and wave configuration, but can also address other stream characteristics such as stream morphology and sediment transportation over time.

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