Low-flying chopper to follow rivers, mapping aquifers

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In this 2016 photo provided by Barry W. Moore, the Interstate 40 bridge is seen from the Mississippi River, between Arkansas and Tennessee. A cracked steel beam, seen above, prompted the indefinite closure of the bridge. (Barry W. Moore via AP)

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — People along rivers in seven states may see a low-flying helicopter towing a long cylinder, starting late this month and going into July.

The 30-foot-long tube holds an electromagnetic instrument that the U.S. Geological Survey uses to make maps of aquifers. Those are underground areas from which water can be drawn.

The helicopter holds more equipment. The helicopter will generally fly along rivers in Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kentucky and Illinois. It will start in what’s called the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, which the agency says is the nation’s third-largest area of irrigated cropland.

Flights also are planned along rivers above the Chicot Aquifer in southwest Louisiana.

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