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January 14, 2022

Residents and visitors may notice a low-flying aircraft over the Imperial Valley, Salton Sea and surrounding areas in southern California starting as early as mid-January 2022 and continuing into Spring 2023.

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. 

The flights will support ongoing programs to map and model the local geology.  The results may help identify the potential for undiscovered geothermal and mineral resources, as well as better understand the geology, hydrology, and potential for natural hazards like earthquakes. The aircraft will carry instruments that measure the earth’s naturally occurring magnetic field and radiation -- data that will help characterize rock layers at and below the surface. The instrumentation aboard the aircraft is passive, meaning it only receives information. It does not emit any signals and poses no health concerns or risks to humans, pets or wildlife.

Anyone observing the low-flying plane should not be alarmed when they see it fly over or pass below the horizon. The airplane is operated by experienced pilots from EDCON-PRJ, who are specially trained for low-level flying and are following all laws.

Map showing an area of southern California surrounding the Imperial Valley and Salton Sea outlined in red to indiccate the survey area
Outline of GeoFlight survey area (red polygon). Note that some restricted areas within the polygon will not be flown.