This paper describes laboratory experiments on dipolar vortex structures in a linearly stratified fluid. The dipoles are generated by a pulsed horizontal injection of a small volume of fluid, by which a localized three-dimensionally turbulent flow region is created. After the subsequent gravitational collapse the flow becomes approximately two-dimensional, and eventually a single vortex dipole emerges, as the result of the self-organizing properties of such flows. The flow evolution has been visualized both by dye and tracer particles, through which qualitative as well as quantitative information was obtained. By application of digital image analysis, the spatial distribution of the velocity t>, vorticity W AND stream function ?fr were determined. It was found that dipoles in the turbulent-injection experiments are characterized by a nonlinear sinh-like relationship between co and whereas in the case of laminar injection the (w, -scatter plots of the dipoles reveal a linear relationship. Notwithstanding these differences, both types of dipoles show a dynamical structure that agrees very well with the Lamb-Chaplygin dipole, as was found by comparing the size, position of maximum vorticity, cross-sectional distributions of v and o), characteristics of the (a>, y)-relationship, and the translation speed of the experimental and the model dipole.