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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

Environmental Geosciences (DEG)


AAPG Division of Environmental Geosciences Journal
Vol. 3 (1996), No. 1., Pages 1-10

Remote Sensing Characterization of Selected Waste Sites at the Los Alamos National Laboratory

N. A. David, I. W. Ginsberg, E. M. Van Eeckhout, L. K. Balick, A. A. Lewis, J. B. Odenweller, G. A. Stahl, W. A. Tyler, R. M. Weber


This article presents some examples of the use of remote sensing products for characterization of hazardous waste sites. The sites are located at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) where materials associated with past weapons testing are buried. Problems of interest include the detection and delineation of buried trenches containing contaminants, seepage from capped areas and old septic drain fields, and delineation of strata for soil sampling. Imagery products shown in this article were derived from airborne multispectral Daedalus data, SPOT satellite imagery, aerial photography, digital map information, and engineering drawings of sites. Site managers at LANL suggested the environmental areas in need of assistance and participated in the interpretation of imagery. Overlays of suspected trench locations on thermal images showed correlation between image signatures and trenches. Another thermal image showed warm anomalies suspected to be areas of water seepage through an asphalt cap. Some new cold spots were discovered that could be buried objects. Merging of hydrographic and soil contaminant data with imagery provided aids for soil sampling. Overlays of engineering drawings on recent and historical photos showed errors in trench location and extent. Multispectral images showed correlation between image signatures and engineering drawings of drain fields.

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