Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

MEDIA ADVISORY: Upcoming Low-Level Flights in Oklahoma to Image Unmapped Faults and Underground Geology

August 11, 2017

Editor:  In the public interest and in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations, the USGS is announcing this low-level airborne project.  Your assistance in informing the local communities is appreciated.

Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey and Oklahoma Geological Survey are teaming up to better understand the location of deep faults and subsurface geology via airborne technology.


USGS and OGS are contracting Goldak Airborne Surveys to conduct surveys that will fly over 18 counties in the southwestern and north-central part of the state. The goal is to capture 3-D images of geology beneath the Earth’s surface for earthquake hazard and mineral resources.


Weather permitting, the surveys will take approximately 6-10 weeks to complete. Operations will be based out of Altus, Oklahoma.


1:750,000, 1 sheet.(Public domain.)

A media availability will occur on August 14 at 1:30 p.m. in Altus, and on August 15 at 12 p.m. in Norman.

Monday, August 14, Altus: View the planes and technology that will be used for the surveys. USGS scientist Dr. Anji Shah will be available for interview.

Where: Altus Quartz Mt. Regional Airport, 5605 N Main St, Altus, OK 73521

When: 1:30 p.m. - 3 p.m.


Tuesday, August 15, Norman: Dr. Shah and Dr. Jeremy Boak, Director, Oklahoma Geological Survey, will be available to discuss the project and provide interviews.

Where: University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Geological Survey, 100 East Boyd Street, Suite N131, Norman, Oklahoma 73019

When: 12 p.m.


PLEASE CONTACT Heidi Koontz, 720-320-1246 or, if you plan to attend or send crews either event.


“Oklahoma has been experiencing increased seismicity since about 2009. Many of these earthquakes occur on faults that haven’t been mapped,” said USGS scientist and project lead Dr. Anji Shah. “In order to better understand local seismic hazards, the USGS and OGS will use the new data to work towards improved fault maps.”


Instruments on the airplane will measure variations in the Earth’s magnetic field created by different rock types up to several miles beneath the surface. The magnetic field maps will help with imaging faults as well as intrusions, which are rocks formed by ancient volcanic eruptions that never reached the surface. The scientific instruments on the airplane are completely passive, with no emissions that pose a risk to humans, animals, or plant life.


Survey areas will include parts of Alfalfa, Beckham, Comanche, Greer, Harmon, Kiowa, Jackson, Lincoln, Logan, Major, Noble, Pawnee, Payne, Pottawatomie, Stephens, Tillman, Woods and Woodward counties.

Map of Oklahoma low-level flight airborne survey areas, along with previous earthquakes and existing faults. Earthquakes are from the NEIC, faults from OGS, full reference for faults is Northcutt, R. A., and J. A. Campbell (1995), Geologic provinces of Oklahoma, Oklahoma Geol. Surv. Open File Rep., 5-95, scale


(Credit: Bill Heath, Goldak Airborne Surveys. Public domain.)

Get Our News

These items are in the RSS feed format (Really Simple Syndication) based on categories such as topics, locations, and more. You can install and RSS reader browser extension, software, or use a third-party service to receive immediate news updates depending on the feed that you have added. If you click the feed links below, they may look strange because they are simply XML code. An RSS reader can easily read this code and push out a notification to you when something new is posted to our site.