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D. A Sound Way To Conserve The Land

Narrator: This is Science Today. Since light doesn't travel far in water, oceanographers have long used sound technology, or acoustics, to see images beneath the surface. John Hildebrand, a professor in the Marine Physical Lab at the University of California's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, is using the same technology for soil prospecting.

Hildebrand: The thing that interested me was the fact that archeologists now, the things that they study are in the ground and the technique that they use to discover these, you can see many times from the surface that there is a site. But if you want to locate particular features it's often done more or less by random or maybe directed or controlled excavation.

Narrator: Instead, Hildebrand developed a new device called ground-penetrating sonar, which can be used in cases where an image in the ground is needed, but digging is not a consideration.

Hildebrand: For example, a site that's inside a National Park. You don't want to dig up everything inside a National Park but you'd like to know what's there and so it's a non-destructive way of looking.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.