The Bureau of Economic Geology The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences

John Hupp (left) and Aaron Averett aboard the survey aircraft Traversing the nightless summer skies of northern Alaska, the Bureau’s Near Surface Observatory lidar team is acquiring the second phase of a large-scale, high-resolution topographic and bathymetric survey of the region. Kutalmis Saylam, John Andrews, John Hupp, Aaron Averett, and Chuck Abolt will use the Bureau’s Chiroptera system to image more than 1200 km2 adjacent to the original survey area flown in 2012 near Deadhorse, Alaska, close to Prudhoe Bay. Chiroptera uses red and green lasers and an ultra-high-resolution camera  to acquire data on bare earth elevation and  vegetation height, while also measuring water-body depths. Detailed scanning of the predominantly sedge- and lake-covered tundra will make possible continuing Bureau studies like those published in the Leading Edge in 2013 and in a pending CRC Press book on advanced wetland mapping, and make possible rapid and accurate mapping of wetlands and other permafrost environments. A second group from the Bureau, including Associate Director Michael Young, Todd Caldwell, Chuck Abolt, and Toti Larson from the UT Department of Geological Sciences, are conducting soil investigations in the area for a potential collaborative research project with NASA next year.
Millions of data points define a high resolution topographic and bathymetric image of north Alaska tundra. Click to see larger image

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