High-resolution airborne thermal infrared (TIR) imagery data were collected over 90.6 km2 (35 mi2) of remote and rugged terrain in the Kettle Creek and Cooks Run Basins, tributaries of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in north-central Pennsylvania. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the effectiveness of TIR for identifying sources of acid mine drainage (AMD) associated with abandoned coal mines. Coal mining from the late 1800s resulted in many AMD sources from abandoned mines in the area. However, very little detailed mine information was available, particularly on the source locations of AMD sites. Potential AMD sources were extracted from airborne TIR data employing custom image processing algorithms and GIS data analysis. Based on field reconnaissance of 103 TIR anomalies, 53 sites (51%) were classified as AMD. The AMD sources had low pH (<4) and elevated concentrations of iron and aluminum. Of the 53 sites, approximately 26 sites could be correlated with sites previously documented as AMD. The other 27 mine discharges identified in the TIR data were previously undocumented. This paper presents a summary of the procedures used to process the TIR data and extract potential mine drainage sites, methods used for field reconnaissance and verification of TIR data, and a brief summary of water-quality data.
|Title||Evaluation of airborne thermal infrared imagery for locating mine drainage sites in the Lower Kettle Creek and Cooks Run Basins, Pennsylvania, USA|
|Authors||James I. Sams, Garret Veloski|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Mine Water and the Environment|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Pennsylvania Water Science Center|