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What Is Side Scan Sonar?

side scan sonar FILEminimizer


This blog was copied from an article that was originally posted on NOAA’s Ocean Service Education page. The image above is the side scan sonar towfish ANAMAR used in a survey off the coast of Fernandina Beach, Florida.

What Is Side Scan Sonar?

Side scan sonar creates a picture or an image of the sea floor.  It measures the strength of how "loud" the return echo is and paints a picture.

Hard areas of the sea floor like rocks reflect more sound and have a stronger or louder return signal than softer areas like sand. Areas with loud echoes are darker than areas with quiet echoes. Objects or features that rise above the sea floor also cast shadows in the sonar image where no sound hit. The size of the shadow can be used to estimate the size of the feature.

Pictured below is a shipwreck ANAMAR found in the Atlantic a few years ago using sidescan sonar.

shipwreck ANAMAR found


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