2003 Virginia SOLs
Sonar stands for Sound Navigation Ranging. It is a process used to map sea floors or observe other obstacles underwater. It works by emitting a small burst of sound from a ship. The sound is reflected off the bottom of the body of water. The time that it takes for the reflected pulse to be received corresponds to the depth of the water. Often, the body of water will be traversed in paths like a grid and every point below the surface will not be monitored. The distance between data points depends on the size of the body of water and the size of the vehicle taking the measurements. Using the data, contour maps of the bottoms of bodies of water are made. Maps that show the contours under bodies of water through depth soundings are called bathymetric maps. They are analogous to topographic maps that are made to show contours of land that are not immersed in water.
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Have the students look at pictures of real sonar maps from http://terraweb.wr.usgs.gov/TRS/kids/MontereySonar/ or other sources. Have them discuss other possible uses for sonar, such as submarine navigation.
Students with Special Needs
Each student should be able to participate in this activity.
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Graph to be completed during the laboratory.