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Aeromagnetic Survey made by Geomagnetic Measurement with flux-gate Magnetometer Mounted on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) at Manda Harrarro rift, Afar.

Over the past 4 years a team of Ethiopian geologists from the school of Earth Sciences (AAU), from the discipline of Geological sciences of University of Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, and Japanese scientists from Kyoto and three other universities, were engaged in a trilateral research endeavour involving geo-electromagnetic research on the subaerial sea-floor spreading centre of Manda Harraro (a southern continuation of the Red Sea ridge) in the Afar depression.

The research themes included on land geomaganetic surveys, rock-magnetic/paleomagnetic, petrologic analyses of volcanic rocks, and aeromagnetic survey along multiple profiles.  Over the project years we have successfully been working on expanding our knowledge about geo-electromagnetic structures under the Manda-Harrarro spreading centre and understanding the formation process of an incipient magnetic stripes (analogous to those of mid-oceanic ridges) based on data from ground surveys using geo-electromagentic methods.

The plan to undertake aeromagnetic surveys using unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) were largely on hold over the past three years due to the absence of rules and regulations regarding the import of UAV. Our sustained engagement with INSA over these past 4 years resulted in the signing of a memorandum of understanding between AAU and INSA this year, which is followed by the temporary import of this UAV, which is unique in its type, engine size and long flight time. We have undertaken aeromagnetic surveys for the first time in Ethiopia from October 28/2019 to November 16/ 2019.

Two airplanes are brought into Ethiopia for this purpose, one is for use and the other is for back-up. The airplane used is Phoenix LR especially developed to withstand the harsh heat in the Afar depression and made to take off and land in this conditions easily.

We have undertaken the required on land and aerial aeromagnetic survey and made geomagnetic measurements (aero-geomagnetic survey) with a flux-gate magnetometer mounted on the UAV. In addition the camera mounted in the aircraft was used for video recording of the ground surface.

The data gathered using the UAV will be used to construct a detailed magnetic anomaly map of the studied area on the sea-floor spreading axis (Manda Harrarro rift) and geo-electromagnetic structures under the axis. The picture below shows UAV after landing in the Afar Depression.