Alaska Science Center

Geophysical Investigations of Infrastructure Sites within the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska (NPRA)

This study was to characterize the geophysical response of infrastructure sites within the NPRA that are threatened by erosion. The goal was to improve imaging of the subsurface by utilizing ground-based magnetics, EM induction, and capacitively coupled resistivity systems to determine lateral extents and volumes of materials to be removed.


Study the geophysical response of infrastructure sites within the National Petroleum Reserve - Alaska (NPRA) that are threatened by erosion. The primary goal is to improve imaging of the subsurface by utilizing a portable broadband EM induction system to determine volumes of materials, resulting in the development of new procedures for data collection, processing, and inversion of the EM data. Enhance the state-of-the-art in near-surface imaging by utilizing new technologies for calibration and inversion. Use the results from the geophysical investigations to plan site characterization activities including: sample placement, trenching, excavation, and removal. Rapid shoreline erosion over the last 5 years along the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas is now impacting infrastructure within the NPRA. Erosion along the shoreline of Teshekpuk Lake and the Colville River is also of concern. In 2005, 38 NPRA infrastructure sites were identified as being in a high risk category for shoreline erosion and eleven sites were surveyed for this study. Infrastructure sites include airstrips, current and former Distant Early Warning sites, gravel pads, road segments, old landfills, and legacy exploration/research wells with associated reserve pits, flare pits, and fuel pits. Concerns of potential contaminant releases into the environment have prompted characterization activities. As part of the characterization of these sites, potential volumes of materials that may need to be removed must be calculated.
Title Type
BLM Completes Cleanup of East Teshekpuk Well Site Project Website


Anderson, Eric , 303-236-5652
Burton, Bethany L., 303-236-1327

Status: completed
Start Year: 2005
End Year: 2008

Project Sites

Atigaru Point
Beaufort Sea
Chukchi Sea
Colville River
Drew Point
Kalikpik River
Kogru River Airport
Lonely Air Station
Smith Bay
Teshekpuk Lake

USGS Mission Area and Program

Human Dimensions > Environmental Impacts > Contaminants
Human Dimensions > Environmental Impacts > Environmental Assessments
Human Dimensions > Land Use/Land Cover > Land Management
Land Surface > Erosion/Sedimentation > Erosion
Oceans > Coastal Processes > Shorelines