Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Evaluation of airborne thermal infrared imagery for locating mine drainage sites in the Lower Youghiogheny River Basin, Pennsylvania, USA

December 31, 2003

Nighttime high-resolution airborne thermal infrared imagery (TIR) data were collected in the predawn hours during Feb 5-8 and March 11-12, 1999, from a helicopter platform for 72.4 km of the Youghiogheny River, from Connellsville to McKeesport, in southwestern Pennsylvania. The TIR data were used to identify sources of mine drainage from abandoned mines that discharge directly into the Youghiogheny River. Image-processing and geographic information systems (GIS) techniques were used to identify 70 sites within the study area as possible mine drainage sources. The combination of GIS datasets and the airborne TIR data provided a fast and accurate method to target the possible sources. After field reconnaissance, it was determined that 24 of the 70 sites were mine drainage. This paper summarizes: the procedures used to process the TIR data and extract potential mine-drainage sites; methods used for verification of the TIR data; a discussion of factors affecting the TIR data; and a brief summary of water quality.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2003
Title Evaluation of airborne thermal infrared imagery for locating mine drainage sites in the Lower Youghiogheny River Basin, Pennsylvania, USA
DOI 10.1007/s10230-003-0006-y
Authors James I. Sams, Garret Veloski, T.E. Ackman
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Mine Water and the Environment
Series Number
Index ID 70189376
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pennsylvania Water Science Center