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Testing of Remote Sensing Methods for Delineating Fracture Systems in Volcanic Terrains to Cavity Networks in Karst

Principle Investigator: John Gierke, Geological & Mining Eng. & Sci.
Sponsor: University of Michigan-Michigan Space Grant Consortium
co-PI: Carla Alonso Contes
Award Amount: $5,000
Project Duration: 04/2008– 04/2009
MTU Reference Code: 071211

Project Summary

Groundwater in bedrock aquifers occurs in fractures. Fracture networks are incredibly difficult to characterize because of the inadequate information available from drilling records and conventional mapping. My current research is aimed at helping to develop methods for analyzing remote sensing data to delineate fractures in volcanic terrains, in an attempt to improve well siting strategies in Pacific Latin America. This led me to consider another type of environment that surrounds my home: karst. Geologists refer to the terrain in Puerto Rico as Northern Karst, which is a series of mogotes (hills), underlain by a network of cavities connecting sinkholes. The Northern Karst is the main supply of water for inhabitants and surface water bodies. Karst areas are more susceptible to drought, subsidence, and contamination. I am testing the methods I am helping to develop for volcanic terrain to characterize the cavity network in karst systems.