Starting as early as September 30, 2016 and lasting up to two weeks, a low-flying helicopter will begin collecting and recording geophysical measurements for scientific research purposes in the southern San Joaquin Valley. The helicopter is under contract to the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the California State Water Resources Control Board.

This monitoring is taking place near the towns of Lost Hills, Buttonwillow and Cawelo. Additional surveying will occur along the San Andreas fault near Parkfield. Residents of these areas should expect to see a low-flying helicopter towing a large wire-loop hanging from a cable.

The SkyTEM helicopter is a specialty airborne geophysical company, will conduct the geophysical survey. Experienced pilots, who are specially trained for low-level flying required for geophysical surveys, will be operating the helicopter. The system measures electrical properties of the earth. Data collected during this survey will assist USGS scientists in mapping groundwater salinity, aquifer properties and faults.

The company works with the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure flights are in accordance with U.S. law.

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