The accompanying map shows the results of an airborne radioactivity survey covering 45 square miles northwest of Devils Tower, Crook County, Wyoming. The survey was made by the U.S. Geological Survey on September 4, 1952, as part of a cooperative program with the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. The survey was made with scintillation-detection equipment mounted in a Douglas DC-3 aircraft. Parallel traverse lines, spaced at quarter-mile intervals, were flown approximately 500 feet above the ground. Aerial photographs were used for pilot guidance, and the flight path of the aircraft was recorded by a gyro-stabilized, continuous-strip-film camera. The distance of the aircraft from the ground was measured with a continuously recording radio altimeter. At 500 feet above the ground, the width of the zone from which anomalous radioactivity is measured varies with the intensity of radiation of the source and, for strong sources, the width would be as much as 1,400 feet. Quarter-mile spacing of the flight paths of the aircraft should be adequate to detect anomalies from strong sources of radioactivity. However, small areas of considerable radioactivity midway between flight paths may not be noted. The approximate location of each radioactivity anomaly is shown on the accompanying map. The plotted position of an anomaly may be in error by as much as a quarter of a mile owing to errors in the available base maps up to several square miles in which it is impossible to find and plot recognizable landmarks. The radioactivity that is recorded by airborne measurements at 500 feet above the ground can be caused by: 1. A moderately large area in which the rocks and soils are slightly more radioactive than the rocks and soils of the surrounding area. 2. A smaller area in which the rocks and soils are considerably more radioactive than rocks and soils in the surrounding area. 3. A very small area in which to rocks and soils are much more radioactive than the rocks and soils of the surrounding area. Any particular anomaly, therefore, may represent either slightly greater-than-average radioactivity over an area of a few thousand square feet, or high radioactivity over an area of a few hundred square feet. The radioactivity anomalies shown on the accompanying map indicate localities of more-than-average radioactivity, and therefore, suggest areas in which uranium or thorium deposits are more likely to occur.
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USGS Numbered Series
Airborne radioactivity survey of the Devils Tower area, Crook county, Wyoming