Monday, December 7, 2015

Low-flying Plane Expected Over Eastern Adirondacks

airplaneIf you are in Essex and Clinton counties, you may notice an airplane flying a grid pattern at low altitude for a few weeks this December as scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey map buried geological features that provide clues into mineral resources in the area.

The region was known for iron ore mining in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but it also contains deposits of rare earth minerals according to the USGS. Rare earth minerals are used in advanced technology such as in cell phones, rechargeable batteries and super-magnets. The surveys will measure subtle changes in Earth’s magnetic field that reflect different types of buried rock. They will also measure low, background levels of natural radioactivity that help with mapping different types of surface rocks. Together, these data will allow visualization of geological structures at and beneath the surface.

The flights, which will take place at altitudes as low as 400 feet above ground level, are expected to take about seven days to complete but may be spread over a few weeks due to weather considerations. Extended snow cover may postpone the flights until spring, as snow on the ground affects how well the sensors work.

“We’re really hoping to get the flights in before snow blankets the area for winter,” said Anji Shah, the USGS research geophysicist heading up the project. The surveys will provide key insights into the geology of the area, mineral resource potential, and the development of tools that help with exploration.

The USGS is working with state and local officials as well as the New York State Geological Survey to coordinate the flight surveys. The specially modified aircraft will be operated by pilots trained and approved for low-level flying.  They will be flying a grid pattern, similar to the back-and-forth pattern people frequently use when mowing a lawn, collecting data over a roughly 450 square mile area.

USGS says the results of the study will be published online when complete.


Related Stories

Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

8 Responses

  1. What’s that I see? Is that a bird or a plane? No, it is another amendment to Forever Wild to allow mining the forest preserve on the horizon..

  2. milton zimmerman says:

    Won’t this put our wilderness at serious risk if they find the minerals they want?

  3. Paul says:

    If you really want to get something like this done before “snow blankets” the area why would you start in mid December?

  4. Tim says:

    More strip mines?!

  5. Paul says:

    “cell phones, rechargeable batteries and super-magnets” And used in things like wind turbines and solar panels.

  6. Kevin Sigourney says:

    OK…so who is it that wants to try and rape the ADKs once again for profit?

  7. John Bingham says:

    How will the low flying USGA sensors know the difference between shallow level radiation from natural occurrences that might point to precious minerals, and deep well radiation extracted from Pennsylvania’ and transported here as fracking waste “brines” contracted by our state, county, and town highway departments for their snow removal use? Won’t roadside and roadside stream concentrations of that deep well fracking radiation, used for winter salting, throw off the USGA readings and conclusions of where there are “natural occurrences” of radiation and thus of other precious minerals?

Wait! Before you go:

Catch up on all your Adirondack
news, delivered weekly to your inbox