PGS January meeting: Electromagnetic Survey of Potomac River headwaters

The January 15, 2015 meeting of the Potomac Geophysical Society will be held January 15 at the Fort Myer Officers’ Club in Arlington, VA ( in the Glassed-in room in the Fife and Drum (main dining room).

Electromagnetic Survey of the Headwaters of North Branch of Potomac River, Important Tributaries, and Impacting Mines

Paul Petzrick, Maryland Power Plant Research Program, Annapolis, Maryland

In 1999, the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) acquired a Helicopter Electromagnetic Survey (HEM) of the Kempton/Coketon Mine Complex for the Maryland Power Plant Research Program (PPRP). NETL’s interest was in studying remote sensing as a means of identifying water quality problems from mining, and PPRP’s interest was in planning geoengineering projects to permanently restore water quality in streams degraded by abandoned pre-law mines. The 1999 HEM revealed important benefits and limitations of this type of survey that might now be performed by drones. The data from the 1999 survey is particularly important when coupled with other data collected for PPRP by Garrett College and the Western Maryland Regional GIS Center in understanding the massive two-State, 64 square kilometer, surface and underground mine complex that disturbs the headwaters of the Potomac River.

Mr. Petzrick’s presentation will discuss interpretation of the HEM data, the importance of software for conversion of the data to useful graphics for planning restoration projects, and alternate methods of remote sensing and their conversion to useful graphics. The data and its interpretation in each case has been the subject of significant review by NETL and its support contractor and similarly by experts at PPRP’s support contractor, Environmental Resources Management, Inc. The importance of historical information and utilization of water quality data as a tool in assessing environmental issues will also be addressed.


Paul Petzrick is a Senior Engineer and Scientist at the Maryland Power Plant Research Program (PPRP) with a focus on Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has been with this Program in the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for 23 years after finishing 30 years of Federal service that included 20 years as a Navy Civil Engineer Corps officer and 7 years of Senior Executive Service at the U.S. Department of Energy. He had applied mathematics education at the University of Wisconsin and has Engineering Degrees from the U.S. Naval Academy, RPI, and Princeton (M.S. 1966). At PPRP he is primarily responsible for the beneficial use of by-products (ash and CO2) of producing electricity.

Hatfield Gate, open 24 hours a day ( Reservations are not necessary, however, we need a head count, so, if you wish to attend dinner ($25), please inform Bob Fraser at 540-888-3001 or via E-mail at If you wish, please feel free to attend the talk without dinner. Non-members and guests are welcome. Visit the PGS web site at for new meeting announcements, etc. Please send changes of address or email to


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