Geoscience BC starts mapping groundwater in the North Peace

In order to map the water flowing underneath the Earth northwest of Fort St. John, a specially equipped helicopter will have to fly high above it this summer.

On Thursday, GeoScience B.C., a provincial scientific agency, had its first test flight using a helicopter hooked up with special electromagnetic technology to map out groundwater aquifers. These flights will eventually cover over 8,000 square kilometers of land, going northwest of Fort St. John from Halfway River First Nation to Pink Mountain.

article continues below

About four daily trips are scheduled throughout the summer during daylight hours.

The helicopter will fly at about 80 to 150 kilometres per hour, at about 70 to 100 feet above ground level. Attached to the helicopter will be a special technology created by the SkyTEM company, which looks like a giant hoop attached to a string.

“Like a CAT scan, the [SkyTEM] system transmits an electromagnetic field into the ground, and measures the response,” GeoScience B.C. said in a release. “Various rocks and soil types have different electrical characteristics and each responds differently to the transmitted signal, telling us something about the type of technology.” 

“[Using the technology] we can more or less ... see groundwater down to a depth of about 350 metres,” said Carlos Salas, GeoScience B.C.’s vice-president of energy. "We’re actually trying to induce a current into the earth and what happens is you get information back which is electromagnetic energy that we can sense and that’s what we’re recording.”

The province is funding the $2 million project, and Salas said it would provide needed groundwater information that would help groups monitor it for safety.

 “We don’t understand where these aquifers are [north of the Peace River], so it’s very hard to protect and regulate groundwater if you don’t know where it is,” he said. “We’re trying to put a framework of scientific data for First Nations, communities, and the energy sector so they can know exactly where the groundwater is, and so they can use it for their own purposes.”

The spark for this study was the Water Sustainability Act announced in March 2014. The act will regulate groundwater usage in response to growing public and First Nations concerns.

Salas said that there is no health risk to people on the ground from the radiation.

“The current that is emitted is a direct current that will not affect any humans or animals below or close to the frame,” GeoScience materials stated.

— With files from David Dyck

reporter@ahnfsj.ca

© Copyright Alaska Highway News

Comments

NOTE: To post a comment you must have an account with at least one of the following services: Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ You may then login using your account credentials for that service. If you do not already have an account you may register a new profile with Disqus by first clicking the "Post as" button and then the link: "Don't have one? Register a new profile".

The Alaska Highway News welcomes your opinions and comments. We do not allow personal attacks, offensive language or unsubstantiated allegations. We reserve the right to edit comments for length, style, legality and taste and reproduce them in print, electronic or otherwise. For further information, please contact the editor or publisher, or see our Terms and Conditions.

comments powered by Disqus
Alaska Highway People's Choice 2020

Popular News

Lowest Gas Prices in Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, Fort Nelson, Fort St John, Tumbler Ridge
British Columbia Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com

Community Event Calendar


Find out what's happening in your community and submit your own local events.