People who live along the Illinois River Basin may see a strange sight in the sky this month.
The Peoria Journal Star reports that U.S. Geological Survey will start sending out a helicopter towing a large hoop to make low-level flights over the Illinois River Basin as part of ongoing groundwater studies. The flights are scheduled to start tomorrow and last 3-4 weeks.
The helicopter will collect geophysical measurements as part of the USGS’ Next Generation Water Observing System. The copter will fly relatively low to the ground, a few hundred feet above the surface. A sensor that resembles a large Hula-Hoop will be towed beneath to measure tiny electromagnetic signals that can be used to map underground features.
Surveys will not occur directly above populated areas. The helicopter system will only be visible from any particular location for a short time. Planned flight paths and survey progress can be found at arcgis.com.