Using thermal imagery to look for GW seepage, Pennypack Creek, PA

My colleague, Marty Briggs, at the USGS Office of Groundwater, Branch of Geophysics, has done some fascinating research using thermal imaging.  The weekend I borrowed a FLIR camera to look for seepage points in the bank of the Pennypack Creek in Philadelphia, one of Dr. Toran’s research areas.  This time of year groundwater is colder than stream water, so seepage points appear as dark (cold) spots.  You can see bank seepage  next to Dr. Toran in the image below.  It is important to note that IR photography is sensitive to only surface water temperature, so seepage under the creek is not detectable unless discharge is high enough to change the overall stream temperature.

Thermal image showing groundwater seepage on the banks of the Pennypack.

Dark (cold) spot on the bank is GW seepage.


Just for fun, and in honor of Mother’s Day weekend, I took a FLIR image of a mother goose and her goslings.  The chicks are little bundles of heat (probably less well insulted).

Thermal image of a mother goose and goslings

Mother Goose and goslings

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