PAYETTE — Survey crews will soon begin their seismic testing in the local area within the next month.

The next step of the natural gas industry is taking place and will present a picture of what lies beneath the surface of the local land area.

Geokinetics presented the information about seismic testing in the area at a townhall meeting in Payette on Wednesday.

Members of the community gathered to get more information about industry’s plan of collecting gas in the area.

A 3D-picture will be compiled with seismic tests.

After the permits are granted and permission is given by the surface owners of the land, as well as the mineral right owners, surveyors will come and set up the equipment needed to begin testing said Rod McLeod, a geologist who works for Gulf Coast Permit Services and was hired by the company Snake River Oil and Gas, which is currently collecting leases for mineral rights in the area.

Several thousand geophones, which are small devices that stick out of the ground no more than 2 inches with cables attached to them, will be laid out on the surface of the land. The geophones are separated by 335 feet of cable.

With the same principles as a sonogram test, once the testing begins and the vibrators or explosive charges are used, sound waves will bounce off the geological structures underneath, McLeod said.

The data collected from these tests will create a 3D-image of the land and the possible presence of natural gas.

Though these tests may show natural gas in the area, the tests do not say the quality or quantity of what is there.

It does give a better idea of what geologists and Snake River Oil and Gas is looking at in terms of where they will have the most success drilling their wells.

The company administering the test makes a point to try and make the tests being administered and the work crew walking through the land as unobtrusive as possible for the landowner as well as the community.

A work crew between two through 70 people will be present for the tests.

The crew has been advised to not damage the land and to close gates to not let out livestock.

The company said it is willing to pay for any damages caused by the tests and the crew.

This test will be covering 50 square miles east of Payette.

A vibrator truck will be used to stimulate the sound waves. At the presentation, McLeod compared the truck’s disturbance level to that of a garbage truck.

“A train passing through makes more vibrations than the truck,” McLeod said.

The total time for testing will be approximately two months, beginning August 20.

Dynamite may be used in rare cases and always in a remote spot with a crew member nearby.

With the geophones set in place for 30 days, landowners may contact the company if and when they need equipment removed for farming. A crew will come immediately to the land and take away the equipment for the time needed and put it back in place once the landowner is finished.

Cherise Kaechele is a reporter at the Independent-Enterprise and Argus Observer. She can be reached at (208) 642-3357 or by emailing To comment on this story, go to


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