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Helicopter to Make Low-level Flights over Northern New Mexico
Released: 9/29/2010 2:17:46 PM

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communication
119 National Center
Reston, VA 20192
Marisa Lubeck 1-click interview
Phone: 303-202-4765

Residents should not be alarmed to witness a low-flying helicopter over the San Antonio-Brokeoff Mountains region in Taos and Rio Arriba Counties starting around October 1.

For several days to weeks, a helicopter operated under contract to the U.S. Geological Survey will be making low-level flights between and west of the towns of Tres Piedras, New Mexico, and Antonito, Colorado, but not directly over these towns. The helicopter will be collecting and recording geologic measurements for research purposes.

Operated by experienced pilots who are specially trained for low-level flying, the helicopter will fly in a pattern of closely spaced, parallel lines at low heights above ground.  The instruments are housed in a tube suspended under the helicopter.

This survey is designed to remotely study geologic units that lie below land surface. It is part of an ongoing USGS program to identify features such as changes in rock types, ultimately providing a better understanding of the geology and hydrology of the area. 

The helicopter is operated by Siebert & Associates of Anchorage, Alaska, and El Aero of Elko, Nevada.  The companies are working with the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure flights are in accordance with U.S. law.

For more information on similar USGS geophysical research that has been conducted in nearby areas, visit the Geophysics of Rio Grande Basins website.

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.

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