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Geotechnical Engineering


Interstate Technical Group on Abandoned Underground Mines
Fourth Biennial Abandoned Underground Mine Workshop

Abstract: Use of Airborne Thermal Infrared Imaging, EM Conductivity, and Total Field Magnetics to Identify Faults, Acid Mine Drainage Plumes and Groundwater Discharge Zones


Richard W. Hammack

U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory
Pittsburgh, PA

The National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) has conducted airborne reconnaissance of large mined areas in California, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Ohio using thermal infrared imaging, electromagnetic conductivity, and total field magnetics. The purpose of these surveys was to locate sites of groundwater discharge and to identify hydrologic features that affect the flow of contaminated groundwater. This information was then used to target selected areas for more detailed investigations. Although airborne surveys cost about $100/line-km, they are more cost effective than comparable ground-based surveys because data can be acquired from large areas in a minimum amount of time. Moreover, airborne surveys avoid land access issues that are problematic to ground-based surveys. A field study will be presented where airborne geophysics identified groundwater flow paths that were missed by a multimillion dollar network of groundwater monitoring wells.

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Updated: 04/15/2015

United States Department of Transportation - Federal Highway Administration