Water News

Groundwater and Geology to be Surveyed Using Low-flying Helicopter in Southern San Joaquin Valley

What: A low-flying helicopter under contract to the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the California State Water Resources Control Board, will begin collecting and recording geophysical measurements for scientific research purposes.

Where: Southern San Joaquin Valley, California with focused efforts near the towns of Lost Hills, Buttonwillow and Cawelo. Additional surveying will occur along the San Andreas fault near Parkfield.

When: Starting on or about September 30, 2016, and lasting one to two weeks.

Residents of these areas should expect to see a low-flying helicopter towing a large wire-loop hanging from a cable in the southern San Joaquin Valley and a part of the San Andreas fault near Parkfield, California during the next couple of weeks.

The work is expected to start September 30 and will last about 1 or 2 weeks with a low-flying helicopter collecting and recording geophysical measurements for scientific research purposes.

The SkyTEM helicopter-borne geophysical system will collect measurements in the southern San Joaquin Valley, with focused efforts near the towns of Lost Hills, Buttonwillow, and Cawelo, California. Additional surveying will also occur along the San Andreas fault system near Parkfield. These surveys entail flying relatively low to the ground (hundreds of feet above the surface) in a uniform pattern to measure electrical properties of the earth. Data collected during this survey will assist USGS scientists in mapping groundwater salinity, aquifer properties and faults.

SkyTEM ApS, a specialty airborne geophysical company, will conduct the geophysical survey. Experienced pilots, who are specially trained for low-level flying required for geophysical surveys, will be operating the helicopter. The company works with the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure flights are in accordance with U.S. law.

More information about this project can be found here:
http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/ water_issues/programs/groundwater/sb4/regional_monitoring/in dex.shtml

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