Starting Thursday and lasting up to a month, a helicopter towing a large hoop from a cable will make low-level flights over areas of the western San Joaquin Valley in Fresno, Kings, and Kern counties near Coalinga and the Pyramid Hills, with limited surveying near Lost Hills, according to the United States Geological Survey.

USGS scientists will use the data gathered to improve understanding of groundwater salinity and below-ground geology to better understand groundwater conditions near California’s oil fields, according to a release.

The helicopter will tow a sensor that resembles a large hula-hoop about 100-200 feet above the ground to measure small electromagnetic signals. These signals can be used to map geologic features, like aquifers, below Earth’s surface. The scientific instruments carried by the aircraft do not pose a health risk to people or animals.

image001 (2).jpg

This helicopter will fly along pre-planned flight paths in the Coalinga area, relatively low to the ground at 100-200 feet above the surface. A sensor that resembles a large hula-hoop will be towed beneath the helicopter to measure small electromagnetic signals that can be used to map geologic features below Earth’s surface.

Recommended for you