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Terry Slonecker

Research Geographer

Contact Info

Short Biography

Terry Slonecker is a Research Geographer with the USGS/Eastern Geographic Science Center.  He specializes in remote sensing and other geospatial analyses of hazardous waste and other fugitive contaminants. His current research interest include VIS/NIR/FTIR spectrocopy and imaging spectroscopy, especially as it relates to hazardous substances.  With 30+ years of experience with the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Environmnetal Protection Agency and the U.S.. Geological Survey, he has served on many special assignments including the Gore-Chernomrydin Commission, the USGEO, the Civil Application Committee, and has recently served as a remote sensing instructor in Afghanistan.  He has served in several emergency response efforts including Three Mile Island, Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill and has been an expert witness on remote sensing for the government on several occassions.


Slonecker, E. T., 2011. The use of historical imagery in the remediation of an urban hazardous waste site. IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing (J-STARS). v. 4, no. 2, p. 281-291 [Link]

Slonecker, E. T. and Fisher, Gary B., 2011. An evaluation of traditional and emerging remote sensing technologies for the detection of fugitive contamination at selected Superfund hazardous waste sites. USGS Open-File Report 2011-1050, iv, 16 p. [Link]

Slonecker, E. T. and Fisher, Gary B., 2011. Graphic products used in the evaluation of traditional and emerging remote sensing technologies for the detection of fugitive contamination at selected superfund hazardous waste sites. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1068, iii, 13 p.; Appendices [Link]

Slonecker, E. T. 2011. Analysis of the Effects of Heavy Metals on Vegetation Hyperspectral Reflectance Properties, IN: Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Vegetation, P. Thenkabail, J. Lyon and A. Huete, editors. Taylor and Francis, New York, ISBN: 9781439845370. 731 pp.

Slonecker, E.T., Fisher, G.B., Aiello, D., and Haack, B., 2010. Visible and Infrared Remote Sensing of Hazardous Waste: A Review: Remote Sensing. 2(11)2474-2508. [Link]

Jones, K.B., Slonecker, E.T., Nash, M.S., Neale, A.C., Wade, T.G., Wickham, J.D. and Hamann, S. 2010, Spatial Patterns of Riparian Habitat Change across the Continental United States (1973-2003) and Potential Implications for Sustaining Ecosystem Services. Ecological Indicators, v. 25(7), 15 p.

Slonecker, E. T., Milheim, L.E. and Claggett, P.R. 2010. Landscape Indicators and Land Cover Change in the Mid-Atlantic Region of the United States, 1973-2001. GIScience and Remote Sensing, 47(2): 163-186.

Slonecker, E. Terrence; Milheim, Lesley E.; Claggett, Peter R., 2009. A Landscape Indicator Approach to the Identification and Articulation of the Consequences of Land-Cover Change in the Mid-Atlantic Region, 1973-2001. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009-1187, iv, 41 p. [Link]

Slonecker, E. Terrence; Fisher, Gary B., 2009. Research Implementation and Quality Assurance Project Plan: An Evaluation of Hyperspectral Remote Sensing Technologies for the Detection of Fugitive Contamination at Selected Superfund Hazardous Waste Sites. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009-1048, iii, 18 p. [Link]

Slonecker, E.T., Haack, B.N. and Price, S.D. 2009. Spectroscopic Analysis of Arsenic Uptake in Pteris Ferns. Remote Sensing, 1(4), 644-675; doi:10.3390/rs1040644, [Link]

Slonecker, E.T., B. Johnson and J. McMahon. 2009. An Automated Imagery Orthorectification Pilot. Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, Vol. 3, 033552 (2009); doi:10.1117/1.3255042 [Link]

Slonecker, Terrence, 2008. A Landscape Indicator Approach to the Identification and Articulation of the Ecological Consequences of Land Cover Change in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, 1970-2000. Geological Survey (U.S.) Fact Sheet 2008-3056, 3 p. [Link]

Slonecker, Terrence; Jones, John W.; Price, Susan D.; Hogan, Dianna, 2008. Advanced Remote Sensing Research. Geological Survey (U.S.) Fact Sheet 2008-3052, 4 p. [Link]

Jones, K.B., C.E. Edmonds, E.T. Slonecker, J.D. Wickham, A.C. Neale, T.G. Wade, K.H. Riitters and W.G. Kepner. 2008. Detecting changes in riparian habitat conditions based on patterns of greenness change: A case study from the Upper San Pedro River Basin, USA. Ecological Indicators, 8:89-99.

Tilley, J.S. and E.T. Slonecker. 2007. Determining the Components of Impervious Surfaces. Open File Report 2007-1008, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia. [Link]

Slonecker, E.T. 2007. Remote Sensing Investigations of Fugitive Soil Arsenic and Its Effect on Vegetation Reflectance. PhD. Dissertation. George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia. [Download File]

Slonecker. E.T. and J.S. Tilley. 2006. An Assessment of Impervious Surfaces Measurement Methods. In: Rates, Trends, Causes and Consequences of Urban Land-Use Change in the United States. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1726. U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, pp. 65-77.

Sather, M.E., E.T. Slonecker, J. Mathew, H. Daughtery and D.D. Williams, 2006. Evaluation of short-term Ogawa passive, photolytic, and federal reference method sampling devices for nitrogen oxides in El Paso and Houston, Texas. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 8(5): 558-63.

Sather, M.E., E. T. Slonecker, K.G. Kronmiller, D.D. Williams, H. Daughtrey and J. Mathew. 2006. Evaluation of Ogawa passive sampling devices as an alternative measurement method for the nitrogen dioxide annual standard in El Paso, Texas. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. [Link]

Tilley, J.S., R.E. Paul, E.T. Slonecker, E. Walkowiak, 2006. Developing a Spatial, Analytical, Methodology to Inventory Potential Brownfields Sites. In: Rates, Trends, Causes and Consequences of Urban Land-Use Change in the United States. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1726. U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, Virginia, pp. 87-95.

Slonecker. E.T. and J.S. Tilley. 2004. An Evaluation of the Individual Components and Accuracies Associated with the Determination of Impervious Area. GIScience and Remote Sensing, 41(2):165-184.

Slonecker, E.T. and M.J. Benger. 2001. Remote Sensing and Mountaintop Mining, Remote Sensing Reviews. 20 (4): 293-322.

Slonecker, E.T., D.B. Jennings, D. Garofalo. 2001. Remote Sensing of Impervious Surfaces: A Review. Remote Sensing Reviews 20(3): 227-255.

Slonecker, E.T., P. Jutro, D. Mangis, M. True and B. Orlick. 1999. Arctic at Risk, Earth Observation Magazine. Volume 8, no. 2: 12-17.

Slonecker, E.T., D.M. Shaw, and T. M. Lillesand. 1998. Emerging Legal Issues in Advanced Remote Sensing Technology. Photogrammetric Engineering And Remote Sensing. 64(6): 589-595.

Wallace, L. and E.T. Slonecker. 1997. Ambient Air Concentrations of Manganese in U.S. National Parks and in California and Canadian Cities. Journal Of Air And Waste Management, 42: 642-52.

Slonecker, E.T.  1994.  Jedediah Hotchkiss – Civil War Cartographer.  Point of Beginning, 19(5): 8-22.


My Science Topics

Science Topic
Earth Characteristicsland surface
Environmental Issuescontamination and pollution
Environmental Issuesdeforestation
Environmental Issuesland use
Environmental Issuesland use change
Environmental Issuesmine drainage
Geographic Analysis and Mappingaerial photography
Geographic Analysis and Mappingcartography
Geographic Analysis and Mappinggeospatial analysis
Geographic Analysis and Mappingmaps and atlases
Geographic Analysis and Mappingremote sensing
Geographic Analysis and Mappingspatial analysis
Geographic Analysis and Mappingtopography
Plants and Animalsendangered species
Plants and Animalsextinction and extirpation
Plants and Animalsferns
Plants and Animalsinvasive species
Plants and Animalsmigratory species
Plants and Animalsplants
Plants and Animalsvegetation

Remote Sensing of Fugitive Contaminants

The intentional or accidental release of hazardous substances into the environment is an inevitable consequence of anthropogenic activity. Industrial, commercial, mining, military and even domestic activities can result in the release of substances into the air,land and water that are harmful to environmental quality and human health. The combined industrialization and population growth of the twentieth century has resulted in an unprecedented release of fugitive contamination that today threatens many plant and animal species and may ultimately threaten the survival of the human race.  The discovery, detection and remediation of many hazardous waste problems consists of a variety of monitoring and analysis strategies that are time-consuming and expensive, such as laboratory chemical analysis. One of the technologies that has an established and growing potential to provide a non-contact and cost-effective alternative to traditional sampling methods is remote sensing. The purpose of this research is to evaluate the potential for relevant information to be provided to the hazardous waste remediation process by both traditional and emerging remote sensing technologies.

Remote sensing is a generic term that encompasses a body of non-contact monitoring techniques that measure energy interactions to determine the characteristics of a target surface or medium. Although remote sensing includes a wide variety of instruments and methods, such as lidar, radar, X-ray technology and acoustic instruments, it is most often associated with overhead imaging techniques, such as aerial photography and satellite imagery that record energy in the solar-reflected part of the electromagnetic spectrum (EMS) between 400 and 2,500 nm wavelengths. Remote sensing has a long history of providing critical information to the process of identifying, characterizing and remediating hazardous waste problems (Titus 1982; Lyon 1987; Barnaba et al. 1991).  Further, new and emerging remote sensing techniques show promise for characterizing site conditions and providing critical information to the hazardous waste cleanup process.

Contact Information

Terry Slonecker
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr
Reston, VA 20192-0002
703-648-4603 - Fax
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