The airplane is equipped with a magnetometer and a gravimeter, both of which will help identify the rock structure under the surface.

The CLC members also got to speak to the pilot of the airplane, Brett Curtis, and a geoscientist with Sander Geophysics from Ottawa, Keith Wells.

The magnetometer measures the Earth’s magnet field through the rock.

The gravimeter’s task is to look at the Earth gravity field and measure the density of the rock. It helps determine whether the rock is granite or volcanic rock.

A thick, long and wide block of granite, free of fractures and faults, is what they would like to find for the repository.

The gravimeter will help find large blocks. What they want to avoid are thin layers of different types of rock.

They would then generate a map with the new information from the two pieces of equipment, which would help to determine preferred areas within larger sectors.

“We’ll use the magnetometer and the gravimeter together to get a whole picture of what is actually beneath the surface. The two pieces (of equipment) go hand-in-hand,” explains Wells.

However, it does not give a complete picture. After they locate areas that look like possibilities, they would then have to do more ground work, he added.

To perform the aerial survey, the airplane loops above the specified area, which is about 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) by 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) for an area of 300 sq. km. (115.3 sq. mi.). It flies at a height of about 70 metres (230 feet) and at a speed of 175 kilometres per hour (110 mph).

The block they are currently surveying is about 70 kilometres north of the North Shore of Lake Huron.

Mike Krizanc, NWMO communications manager, says they fly a pattern similar to an ice resurfacer in an arena making wide slow turns not to cause problems for the sensitive equipment onboard the airplane.

Wells adds that they fly for about six hours per day and expects it to take about 24 days to do the survey. As of May 6, they were 46% completed, he added.

By KEVIN McSHEFFREY, Elliot Lake Standard, Wednesday, May 11, 2016 11:08:26 EDT PM , as posted at