The Swiss plate geophone (SPG) system has been installed and tested in more than 20 steep gravel-bed streams and rivers, and related studies generally resulted in rather robust calibration relations between signal impulse counts and transported bedload mass. Here, we compare this system with three alternative surrogate measuring systems. A variant of the SPG system uses the same frame (housing) set-up but with an accelerometer instead of a geophone sensor to measure the vibrations of the plate (GP-Acc, for geophone plate accelerometer). The miniplate accelerometer (MPA) system has a smaller dimension of the impact plate and is embedded in more elastomer material than the SPG system. The Japanese pipe microphone (JPM) is a 1 m long version of the system that has been installed in many streams in Japan. To compare the performance of the four systems, we used calibration measurements with direct bedload samples from three field sites and an outdoor flume facility with controlled sediment feed. At our field sites, the systems with an accelerometer and a microphone showed partly large temporal variations in the background noise level, which may have impaired the calibration measurements obtained during certain time periods. Excluding these periods, the SPG, GP-Acc, and JPM all resulted in robust calibration relations, whereas the calibration of the MPA system showed a poorer performance at all sites. A copy is freely available here.
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