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ABSTRACT: Detailed Side and Overhead Views of Geologic Features from Joint Panoramic and Blimp Operations

Thomas E. Chase, Jeffrey D. Young

A portion of the California coast, including the Loma Prieta earthquake damage at Moss Landing, is shown with the topography displayed from side and overhead viewing angles. This technique offers a different approach to mapping shorelines and studying the oceanographic forces creating and shaping these geologic features.

Two pieces of equipment were developed to create these views. The first is a panoramic camera with viewing angles up to 360° and two telephoto settings (70mm and 210mm) allowing a feature to be photographed from the same point with different lens magnifications.

The second is a 20 ft helium-filled blimp with 35mm cameras mounted in a tray with a radio control receiver triggering the camera shutters after receiving a signal transmitted from a person on the ground. Video camcorders can also be carried. Tethered to the person on the ground, the blimp's height is determined by the amount of line payed out. Horizontal movement of the blimp is controlled by the operator walking or riding slowly in a boat or truck. The blimp can be flown at different elevations, remain in a stationary position for time-lapse photographs, or be moved about to prepare a mosaic of the area.

Both systems can be used in remote areas because they are portable and the power supplies needed to operate are from lightweight batteries.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90097©1990 Fifth Circum-Pacific Energy and Mineral Resources Conference, Honolulu, Hawaii, July 29-August 3, 1990