High Altitude Photos for Inactive Mines

by Jan P. Berger, Geologist; TAMS, Engrs. and Consultants, New York, N.Y.,
Warren R. Philipson, (M.ASCE), Assoc. Prof.; School of Civ. and Environmental Engrg., Cornell Univ., Ithaca, N.Y.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Surveying and Mapping Division, 1980, Vol. 106, Issue 1, Pg. 27-34

Document Type: Journal Paper


The utility of high altitude, 1:120,000-scale, color, infrared aerial photographs for inventorying inactive surface mines and assessing their environmental conditions was demonstrates for a 200 sq mile (500 km²) area in Pennsylvania. Some 60 surface mines that had been abandoned with little or no reclamation were detected using 1971, 1973, and 1975 photographs. Revegetation was the primary indicator. Through stereoscopic analysis of the photographs, each inactive mine was characterized by mining method, topographic features, erosion, mass wasting, revegetation, water quality, and visibility from roads or populous areas. Numerical values were assigned to these characteristics in order that a rating could be calculated for each mine. This rating reflected the mine's overall level of environmental disturbance or potential environmental hazard.

Subject Headings: Environmental issues | Mines and mining | Water quality | Ratings | Aerial photography | Topography | Erosion | Highways and roads | Pennsylvania | United States

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