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Use of thermal-infrared imagery in ground-water investigations, northwestern Montana

November 1, 1976

Thermal-infrared imagery was used to locate ground-water inflow along a 50-mile (80-kilometre) reach of the Kootenai River and Lake Koocanusa and a 55-mi (88-km) reach of the Clark Fork of the Columbia River in northwestern Montana and northeastern Idaho. The imagery confirmed that measured streamflow gains below Noxon Rapids Dam, ranging from 1,000 to 2,500 cubic feet per second (28 to 71 cubic metres per second), resulted from inflow of ground water, which was about 2.5° Celsius warmer than surface water. The thermal scanner (8.5-11 micrometres) used in May 1972 and March 1973 was mounted in a twin-engined aircraft. On the March 1973 flight, the data were recorded in an analog format on magnetic tape in flight, later were converted to digital format, and then were computer processed using an assignment of patterns to indicate differences in water temperature. Thus, subtle temperature differences are much easier to identify than they are oh conventional film-negative displays. The output data from the image-processing program can be converted to temperature maps having an isotherm spacing of 0.5°C.

Citation Information

Publication Year 1976
Title Use of thermal-infrared imagery in ground-water investigations, northwestern Montana
Authors A. J. Boettcher, R. M. Haralick, C. A. Paul, Norman Smothers
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Research of the U.S. Geological Survey
Index ID 70233434
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse