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cuttings from water wells at several locations in the desert. USGS and GSP scientists ran a geophysical log in one of these water wells that indicated the presence of as much as 60 feet (18 meters) of coal at a depth of about 450 feet (140 meters). Four coal test holes were drilled in the Thar Desert in the spring of 1992. The first of these drill holes confirmed the presence of 60 feet of coal in several beds near the water well that had been geophysically logged. Another of the test holes indicated a 96-foot-thick (30-meterthick) coal bed at a depth of around 450 feet (140 meters). In late 1992 and early 1993, a drillhole program in the Thar Desert roughly defined the extent of the field. The field is about 70 miles (110 kilometers) long and about 35 miles (55 kilometers) wide and covers about 2,000 square miles (5,000 square kilometers). The thick-coal axis trends north, and total coal thicknesses decrease to the east, west, and north. The average total-coal thickness throughout the field is 37 feet (11 meters); depths to the coal range from 443 to 804 feet (135 to 245 meters). Throughout most of the field area, the coal occurs in several beds over an interval of around 150 feet (45 meters). The Thar Desert coal has the rank of lignite B and is relatively low in sulfur (about 1 percent) and in ash (less than 8 percent). These analyses indicate that the Thar Desert coal is similar to the coals of the Fort Union region in North Dakota and Montana. Although the USGS program in Pakistan is completed, USGS scientists continue to work on the final Thar Desert coal report, which is scheduled to be completed in early 1994. A Pittsburgh, Pa., coal company plans to drill 10 closely spaced holes in the Thar field to deter

mine the feasibility of mining the Thar coal deposit.

Jack Medlin coordinates USGS research programs in Asia and the Pacific


Volunteers Collaborate with USGS on Pacific Region Study

he Pacific basin and surrounding land areas cover more than one-half of the globe and encompass a vast range of environments and earth-science concerns, from volcano and earthquake hazards to mineral and energy resources. For the past 20 years, volunteer (nonreimbursed) earth scientists have been working with the USGS and the CircumPacific Council for Energy and Mineral Resources (a private nonprofit foundation) to study, compile, interpret, and publish earth-science data on this immense area. The Pacific region has been divided into four quadrants and two polar regions, each represented by a panel of volunteer earth scientists who are experts on their regions. Panel members change as the subject matter changes to bring the latest and best information to the studies. Panel chairmen, two of whom have been with the project since it began in 1973, focus and manage the work. The products of this international volunteer network are a series of overlapping maps accompanied by explanatory notes and supplementary data. All maps produced since 1990 are published, sold, and distributed by the USGS.

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For more information on the
AGRHYMET project, contact:

Telephone (605) 549–6027


showard 1(a

series. In addition, 41 thematic maps (including geology, geodynamics, plate and regional tectonics, energy resources, mineral resources, and natural hazards) were published through 1992; production continued on 17 more, and 3 on energy resources for the Southwest, Northwest, and Southeast quadrants are in proof stage.

The Circum-Pacific Council for Energy and Mineral Resources was established in 1972 to promote earth-science data collection and research; sponsor conferences, symposia, and workshops; and publish books and maps of the region. Exemplifying the best in international scientific cooperation, the Circum-Pacific Map Project provides valuable earthscience information to help solve the many problems of resource development, including environmental problems, and to promote the general welfare of all peoples living within the circum-Pacific region.

George Gryc is the general chairman of the Circum-Pacific Map Project, a cooperative effort with the Circum-Pacific Council for Energy and Mineral Resources, and a senior researcher at the USGS

A Data Telecommunications System for the AGRHYMET Program in West Africa

he prolonged and frequent drought

conditions in West Africa have prompted concerted international efforts to deal with this devastating natural hazard. The USGS's EROS Data Center (EDC) in Sioux Falls, S. Dak., has designed a communications network to link the Agriculture-HydrologyMeteorology (AGRHYMET) Regional Center (ARC) in Niamey, Niger, to centers in nine other countries of the Sahel– Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Senegal. This network provides agricultural, weather, and climate data to assess environmental conditions and predict drought.

A field test conducted in April 1992 proved that data could be transmitted in

minutes between the ARC in Niger and a center in Burkina Faso. In turn, researchers in Africa can log onto a remote computer at the EDC and tap into extensive global data bases and archives of remotely sensed imagery. Since 1989, the ARC has used images from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrations's polar orbiting satellites to map vegetative cover throughout the Sahel at 10 daily intervals at a ground resolution of 1 kilometer. EDC employees, under the sponsorship of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), assisted in the project. The year 1993 saw the end of the USAID's Participating Agency Service Agreement. During FY 1993, the EDC concentrated on completing the installation of PC-based geographic information systems (GIS) in the National AGRHYMET Centers (NAC) of member nations. Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, and Senegal were completed in FY 1993 (Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, and Niger had been brought online in FY 1992). Personnel from the EDC and the ARC installed hardware, software, and a localarea network and presented a one-week GIS training workshop to NAC staff and representatives from other natural resource ministries within each country. To support these GIS installations, the EDC is providing digital data sets to each NAC. These sets include administrative boundaries, roads, cities, historical data sets derived from daily advanced very high resolution radiometer (AVHRR) acquisitions, interpretations of land use from Landsat data, and other natural resource data derived from existing maps of soils, vegetation, and so on. EDC staff stationed at the Niamey field office in Niger support the AGRHYMET Program by developing procedures to derive specific information from satellites and other data sources. Their most recent development is a means of comparing current greenness with historical averages on a district-bydistrict basis. This procedure can be used to identify areas and populations that may suffer from lack of rain and resulting crop failures. EDC staff in Sioux Falls are investigating ways of using AVHRR data to monitor the seasonal development and status of ephemeral bodies of water in the Tillabury region of Niger. These water bodies are important to populations that raise cattle. The EDC continues to provide logistical support by procuring equipment, supplies, and repair services.

Stephen Howard is a senior scientist at the EDC who has worked on the AGRHYMET program since its inception 5 years ago

Gray Tappan is a senior scientist and geographer at the EDC currently assigned to the Senegal Land-Use Change Project

GIS Applications in the Lake Baikal Region of the Russian Federation

s the Russian Federation moves to a

more market-based economy, the application of geographic information system (GIS) technologies will play a critical role in coordinating the development of programs to effectively manage Russian national resources. To assist in this transition, the USGS is helping the Russian Federal Service for Geodesy and Cartography (RUSKARTOGRAFIA) set up GIS applications centers.

These centers have potential benefits to the RUSKARTOGRAFIA in that GIS capabilities can be applied to the privatization of land and cadastral development; infrastucture inventory, prioritization, and reconstruction; nuclear materials storage and hazard mitigation; facilities siting; and many other applications. In addition, the centers can function as training centers to instruct other Russian scientists, as well as those from other republics, in the capabilities and applications of GIS.

The USGS will benefit through access to elevation and land-characterization data and other base cartographic and geographic information for global change analyses.

In cooperation with the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Office of Science and Technology, and the RUSKARTOGRAFIA, the USGS is assisting in the following tasks:

• Providing hardware, software, and training to institute two GIS applications centers in RUSKARTOGRAFIA facilities in Moscow and Irkutsk. • Creating a GIS to assess the ecological conditions of the Lake Baikal drainage basin. • Using the resultant GIS approach to develop a land-management plan for the Baikal basin to better manage the resources and protect the environment. The Lake Baikal region of Russia was selected by the RUSKARTOGRAFIA, the Department of State, and the USGS because of its unique environmental and natural characteristics. Lake Baikal is the world's deepest and largest body of freshwater and is experiencing problems with pollution from logging and mining operations. The project is viewed by the RUSKARTOGRAFIA as an important part of a larger effort to protect Lake Baikal and improve the economy of the region by developing its natural resources on the principles of sustainable use. As a pilot project, the Lake Baikal GIS supports major scientific and technological agreements between the United States and Russia and affords the opportunity for cooperative programs in natural resource management and environmental protection throughout Russia. The USGS will provide the technical expertise in collecting digital data and organizing it into a demonstration GIS for the Lake Baikal region. Most of the data will be collected by the RUSKARTOGRAFIA and will meet USGS digital

AGRYMET data communications network.


For more information on the Lake
Baikal project, contact:

Telephone (703) 648–5110
Internet asteve1(a

cartographic standards. The GIS will pro-
vide the mechanism for assessing the eco-
logical conditions of the Lake Baikal
drainage basin.
The USGS will also provide technical
expertise and has offered to train
workstations that will be shipped to Rus-
sia. A senior Russian management team
has been invited to visit the GIS Research
Laboratory in Reston, Va., as well as sev-
eral USGS mapping centers.

Alan R. Stevens is the primary architect of the bilateral agreement between the USGS and the RUSKARTOGRAFIA

International Workshop

on Arctic

n an unprecedented show of scientific

Norway, Ireland, Finland, Great Britain,
Monaco, and Canada joined together in a
workshop on arctic contamination, held
in Anchorage, Alaska, May 2 to 7, 1993.
The U.S. Interagency Arctic
Research Policy Committee Workshop,
organized and conducted by the USGS,
brought together more than 200 scientists
and officials concerned about the short-
and long-term consequences of potential
contamination of large areas of the Arctic
by radionuclides and other toxic materi-
als. The workshop also dealt with the
potential effects of arctic contaminants on
areas well beyond the physical boundaries
of the Arctic.
A March 1993 Russian Federation
report, which was a major impetus for
convening the workshop, identified more
than 2 million curies of radionuclide
wastes that have been disposed of in
the Kara and Barents Seas. The report
documents that radionuclide wastes were
also introduced into the northwestern-
most Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan, and
the Sea of Okhotsk. The long-term
effects of these hazardous materials is

dialog and international cooperation, scientists from Russia, the United States,

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