Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world

Open-File Report 02-366

Rationale and Operational Plan for a U.S. High-Altitude Magnetic Survey

By Thomas G. Hildenbrand, Mario Acuna, Robert E. Bracken, Doug Hardwick, William J. Hinze, G.R. Keller, Jeff Phillips, and Walter Roest

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (260 kB)Abstract

On August 8, 2002, twenty-one scientists from the federal, private and academic sectors met at a workshop in Denver, Co., to discuss the feasibility of collecting magnetic anomaly data on a Canberra aircraft (Figure 1). The need for this 1-day workshop arose because of an exciting and cost-effective opportunity to collect invaluable magnetic anomaly data during a Canberra mission over the U.S. in 2003 and 2004. High Altitude Mapping Missions (HAMM) is currently planning a mission to collect Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IFSAR) imagery at an altitude of about 15 km and with a flight-line spacing of about 18 km over the conterminous U.S. and Alaska. The additional collection of total and vector magnetic field data would represent a secondary mission objective (i.e., a "piggy-back" magnetometer system). Because HAMM would fund the main flight costs of the mission, the geomagnetic community would obtain invaluable magnetic data at a nominal cost. These unique data would provide new insights on fundamental tectonic and thermal processes and give a new view of the structural and lithologic framework of the crust and possibly the upper mantle.

This document highlights: (1) the reasons to conduct this national survey and (2) a preliminary operational plan to collect high-altitude magnetic data of a desired quality and for the expected resources. Although some operational plan issues remain to be resolved, the important conclusions of the workshop are that the Canberra is a very suitable platform to measure the magnetic field and that the planned mission will result in quality high-altitude magnetic data to greatly expand the utility of our national magnetic database.

First posted December 2, 2002

  • Report TXT (56 kB)
    Download an ASCII text version of this report intended for use with screen readers

For additional information, contact:
Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
345 Middlefield Road, MS 901
Menlo Park, CA 94025-3591

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). For best results viewing and printing PDF documents, it is recommended that you download the documents to your computer and open them with Adobe Reader. PDF documents opened from your browser may not display or print as intended. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Hildenbrand, Thomas G., Acuna, Mario, Bracken, Robert E., Hardwick, Doug, Hinze, William J., Keller, G. R., Phillips, Jeff, Roest, Walter, 2002, Rationale and Operational Plan for a U.S. High-Altitude Magnetic Survey: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 02-366, 22 pp.,




Rational for the Canberra magnetic survey

Operational plan summary

Neeeded resources


Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Contact USGS
Page Last Modified: Wednesday, December 07, 2016, 07:27:34 PM