Faculty Research & Creative Activity

Document Type


Publication Date

January 2014


Radio frequency identification technology (RFID) has allowed for tracking of individual clasts implanted with passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags through sedimentary systems, providing recovery rates much higher than older sediment tagging methods such as painted or magnetic clasts. However, preparation of natural clasts for PIT tag implantation has been time-consuming and dangerous with rates of catastrophic failure of clasts of ∼66% or more. Moreover, failure rates increase as clast size decreases. The authors present an improved methodology that provides nearly 100% success rates and allows for drilling of clasts down to 23 mm along the intermediate diameter. The gripping and binding device (GABI) prevents clasts from rotating and is effective when used in conjunction with the rhythmically applied pressure drilling technique. GABI is simple and inexpensive to build and can be used in a field setting. The improved safety and effectiveness of the method will allow for greater application of RFID tracking of natural sediment. Additionally, the ability to drill smaller clasts opens up new possibilities for research in sediment transport.


The final pdf version is available at http://ascelibrary.org/doi/abs/10.1061/(ASCE)HY.1943-7900.0000943