In July 2011, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, completed a geophysical survey using electrical resistivity along an approximately 6-mile reach of the lower American River in Sacramento, California, to map near-surface lithological variations. This survey is a part of a manifold and comprehensive study of river-flow dynamics and geologic boundary-property knowledge necessary to estimate scour potential and levee erosion risk. Data were acquired on the left (south or west) bank between river mile 5 and 10.7 as well as a short section on the right bank from river mile 5.4 to 6. Thirteen direct-current resistivity profiles and approximately 8.3 miles of capacitively coupled resisistivity data were acquired along accessible areas of the floodplain between the levee and river bank. Capacitively coupled resistivity was used as a reconnaissance tool, because it allowed for greater spatial coverage of data but with lower resolution and depth of investigation than the DC resistivity method. The study area contains Pleistocene-age alluvial deposits, dominated by gravels, sands, silts, and clays, that vary in both lateral extent and depth. Several generations of lithologic logs were used to help interpret resistivity variations observed in the resistivity models.
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