Editor: In the public interest and in accordance with FAA regulations, the USGS is announcing this low-level airborne project. Your assistance in informing the local communities is appreciated.
For about one month, an airplane operated under contract to the U.S. Geological Survey will be making low-level flights over a 1000-square-mile area centered over Spokane and including parts of eastern Washington and western Idaho.
Starting around May 18, anyone observing the low-flying plane should not be alarmed if they see it fly over or pass below the horizon. The airplane is operated by experienced pilots who are specially trained for low-level flying.
The survey is designed to measure the magnetic field of the earth, which is related to geologic and hydrologic units that lie below the land surface. It is part of an ongoing USGS program to identify hidden geologic features, such as changes in rock types, ultimately providing a better understanding of the geology and hydrology of the area. For example, the survey may help map shallow faults responsible for a sequence of small earthquakes that occurred during the summer and fall of 2001 inside Spokane city limits.
The airplane is operated by EDCON-PRJ of Lakewood, Colorado, which is working with the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure flights are safe and in accordance with U.S. law.