The Bureau of Economic Geology The University of Texas at Austin Jackson School of Geosciences
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August 2012

On July 30 and 31, a BEG research team that included Aaron Everett, Jay Kipper, Michael Young, and Jeff Paine traveled to Oxnard, California, to take delivery of Chiroptera, BEG's new lidar and bathymetric imaging system. After the successful conclusion of instrument installation and test flights using a dual-prop Aspen Helicopters aircraft in areas surrounding Oxnard on Tuesday, the instrument and crew departed for Alaska on Wednesday, following completion of the flight-planning phase for the Deadhorse, Alaska, survey. The survey includes acquisition of topographic and bathymetric lidar data and infrared aerial photography over an area between 200 and 650 km2 south of Deadhorse. Built by Sweden's Airborne Hydrography AB, the state-of-the-art Chiroptera can collect highly accurate elevation data on land and below water surfaces to a depth of around 30 ft. Horizontal and vertical accuracy of the Chiroptera was measured at about 9 and 1.9 cm, respectively. When the system is outfitted with hyperspectral cameras later this year, it will be one of only a handful of systems in the world that can simultaneously measure land and shallow seafloor contours, as well as a wide range of spectral signatures (400–14,000 nm). The Chiroptera, purchased with a grant from the Texas General Land Office, will be used in a variety of research activities—from measuring coastal erosion and sedimentation rates to rapid response surveys for assessing potential damage from extreme events such as hurricanes.



On Thursday, August 2, BEG Director Dr. Scott Tinker hosted the 2012 Bureau Visiting Committee. The agenda included a discussion of Bureau public-relations initiatives, an overview of growth in the Environmental Division, and a look at Bureau-hosted conferences this year. Present at this year' s meeting were Mr. Bud Scherr, Ms. Annell Bay, Mr. James Farnsworth, Mr. John Gibson, Mr. Mike Ming, Mr. Barry Smitherman, and BEG Associate Directors Michael Young, Eric Potter and Jay Kipper. The Bureau also extended a warm welcome to incoming members Ms. Melanie Callahan, Executive Administrator for the Texas Water Development Board, and Dr. Zak Covar, Executive Director, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, who was represented at the meeting by TCEQ Deputy Executive Director Richard Hyde.



On July 20–21, Sergey Fomel and his collaborators from the Madagascar Project conducted a school and workshop on reproducible computational geophysics. More than 40 people attended the school, representing 15 organizations (11 universities and 4 companies) from 5 different countries. Madagascar is an actively developed open-source software package for geophysical data analysis. To learn more about this event and Madagascar open-source software, click here.



After extensive renovations our BEG-Austin publications store, pictured above, has a new look and has been rearranged to serve our customers better. The changes are part of a larger effort to make all Bureau publications and merchandise more accessible to our many customers. This includes a new, easier to use online bookstore, BEGStore for Internet shopping.

Arranged by subject discipline and by geographic region in Texas and beyond, our newly remodeled publications sales area features many more Bureau, Texas Memorial Museum, GCAGS, GCSSEPM, and geological society publications than were previously displayed. We now offer more than 1,900 books, maps, and CDs, about one-fourth of which are displayed in our first-floor location in BEG building 130 in UT's J. J. Pickle Research Campus in northwest Austin. Our strengths are oil and gas and petroleum, minerals and mining, and hydrology and hydrogeology, but we also display and sell publications on environmental geology, geothermal resources, seismic studies, paleontology and archeology.We sell books, maps, digital media, and reports of research conducted by Bureau staff from 1915 to the present, in book or digital format. We also sell a Texas rock kit, cross sections, and posters, plus selected Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies (GCAGS) and GCS-SEPM products. For online shoppers, our BEGStore offers simpler account creation, keyword searching, and cart-based shopping, as well as various payment options and a messaging system to contact BEG bookstore staff by e-mail.



Despite uncooperative weather and challenging flight conditions, the BEG research team of Jeff Paine, Aaron Averett, John Andrews, and Tom Tremblay completed their regional lidar survey near Dead Horse, Alaska, on August 11. It was the first survey using the Bureau's new Chiroptera lidar unit, manufactured by Swedish company Airborne Hydrography AB. The new instrument was mounted on a twin-engine aircraft for flight operations; Bureau researchers manned nearby ground-based reference stations. The survey, covering an area of roughly 450 square kilometers, gathered more than 13 billion topographic data points and more than 1.5 billion bathymetric data points. Data processing for the Alaska survey continues while preparations to configure the instrument for its next survey flight in Texas are underway.

 

 

 
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