On August 8, 2002, twenty-one scientists from the federal, private and academic sectors met at a workshop in Denver, Co., to discuss the feasibility of collecting magnetic anomaly data on a Canberra aircraft (Figure 1). The need for this 1-day workshop arose because of an exciting and cost-effective opportunity to collect invaluable magnetic anomaly data during a Canberra mission over the U.S. in 2003 and 2004. High Altitude Mapping Missions (HAMM) is currently planning a mission to collect Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (IFSAR) imagery at an altitude of about 15 km and with a flight-line spacing of about 18 km over the conterminous U.S. and Alaska. The additional collection of total and vector magnetic field data would represent a secondary mission objective (i.e., a "piggy-back" magnetometer system). Because HAMM would fund the main flight costs of the mission, the geomagnetic community would obtain invaluable magnetic data at a nominal cost. These unique data would provide new insights on fundamental tectonic and thermal processes and give a new view of the structural and lithologic framework of the crust and possibly the upper mantle.
This document highlights: (1) the reasons to conduct this national survey and (2) a preliminary operational plan to collect high-altitude magnetic data of a desired quality and for the expected resources. Although some operational plan issues remain to be resolved, the important conclusions of the workshop are that the Canberra is a very suitable platform to measure the magnetic field and that the planned mission will result in quality high-altitude magnetic data to greatly expand the utility of our national magnetic database.
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