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Jim Gardner, Pete Dartnell, and post-doc Laurent Hellequin (MPFC) completed a high-resolution multibeam map of the bathymetry of Crater Lake, in Crater Lake National Park, Ore, in early August. They worked with Larry Mayer of the University of New Hampshire, four contractors from C&C Technologies, Inc., of Lafayette, La, and two rangers from Crater Lake National Park. The plan to map the lake bottom was initiated last year by Mac Brock of the National Park Service, which partnered with the USGS to fund the mapping.
Logistics were complicated by the fact that the lake surface lies about 1,000 ft below the crater rim and is accessible only from the air or by a mile-long foot trail. So C&C Technologies' 26-ft research boat, R/V Surf Surveyor, had to be airlifted onto the lake.
Finally, on the 28th, the U.S. Army Reserves came to the rescue with a Chinook helicopter from Fort Lewis, Wash. The helicopter airlifted the Surf Surveyor onto the lake, the mapping crew set up their processing center on Wizard Island, and mapping began.
The mapping delay and assistance from the Army increased media interest in the project, which received a lot of local newspaper and TV coverage. Once the project was underway, the mapping crew worked quickly, processing each day's data on the island field camp for daily posting on the World Wide Web. Mapping was completed in five days, and a final bathymetric map was shown to the media at a press conference held at park headquarters on August 3rd. The new map is accurate to within 50-cm depth and resolves objects larger than a few meters in diameter. It shows a maximum lake depth of 1,958 ft, 26 ft deeper than previously measured, and reveals never-before-seen details of ancient lava flows, huge landslide debris fields, and other geologic features on the bottom.
You can see bathymetric images and fieldwork photos at the "Crater Lake Data Clearinghouse", a Web site created and maintained by Alexander Evans, Connie Hoong, and Gary Sullivan of the National Mapping Division in Menlo Park. The Web site was developed and added to by:
Also on the Web site is a wealth of information about the Crater Lake area and its natural and human history.
in this issue:
Crater Lake Mapping
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