Under-water scene investigation using ground penetrating radar (GPR) in the search for a sunken jet ski, Northern Ireland

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13 Citations (Scopus)


A search for a submerged jet ski and the lost limb of its driver involved in a collision with a speedboat was made in a shallow lake in Northern Ireland. The location of both was crucial to establishing events at the time of the accident. Local intelligence suggested both objects were likely to be partially-buried by lacustrine silt. To avoid sediment churning, this required non-invasive, completely non-destructive assessment and mapping of the scene. A MALA RAMAC ground-penetrating radar system (GPR) mounted on floats for surveying from walkways and jetties or placed in a small rubber dinghy for offshore profiling was used. A grid was established and each line surveyed with 100, 200 and 400MHz antennae. In waters over 6m deep GPR data showed the form of the lake floor but excessive ringing occurred in the data. In waters less than 6m deep ringing diminished on both 100 and 200MHz data, the latter displaying the best trade-off between depth penetration and horizontal object resolution. 400MHz data failed to be of use in waters over 2m deep and at these depths showed only limited improvement of image quality compared to 200MHz data. Surface objects such as a wooden walkway caused interference on 200 and 400MHz data when antennae were oriented both normal and parallel to survey direction; this may be a function of the low attenuation of radar waves in freshwater, allowing excellent lateral and vertical radar wave penetration. On 200MHz data the damaged jet-ski was clearly imaged in a location that contradicted the speedboat driver's account of the accident.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-230
Number of pages10
JournalScience and Justice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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