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Low-Flying Airplane Mapping Parts of Northeastern California

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Residents should not be alarmed if they see a low-flying airplane over parts of northeastern California starting February 6, 2021.

Editor: In the public interest and in accordance with FAA regulations, the USGS is announcing this low-level airborne project. Your assistance in informing the local communities is appreciated.

Residents should not be alarmed if they see a low-flying airplane over parts of northeastern California starting February 6, 2021.

For about two months, an airplane operated under contract to the U.S. Geological Survey will be making low-level flights over parts of northeastern California. The survey will cover as far north as the town of Susanville and as far south as South Lake Tahoe. The survey will cover the towns of Portola, Grass Valley, Truckee, Reno and Quincy with the purpose of collecting and recording geologic measurements.

Anyone observing the low-flying plane should not be alarmed if they see it fly overhead or pass below the horizon. The contractor will be following all guidelines established by the Federal Aviation Administration, and the aircraft will be operated by experienced pilots, specially trained for low-level flying.

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

Visit the project website for more information.


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