Depths of Lake Tahoe to be Explored by Undersea Voyager Project
Published on Apr 16, 2009 - 11:36:35 AM
South Lake Tahoe, Calif. April 16, 2009 - Undersea Voyager Project, an ocean exploration team based out of Southern Calif., is embarking on a five-year expedition to study the Earth's oceans, of which only 1% of the water column and 3% of the ocean floor have been explored. Prior to their voyage, the team will make a highly anticipated stop in South Lake Tahoe to dive the blue depths and conduct a series of environmental evaluations.
The Undersea Voyager Project will utilize a submarine and a remotely operated vehicle to conduct experiments up to 1,600 feet below the surface of Lake Tahoe, in preparation for a 27,000 mile circumnavigation of the world's oceans.
The crew will transect Lake Tahoe, evaluating three tsunami-producing fault lines underneath the lake. The team will also study animal and plant life, explore historic shipwrecks and perform water quality evaluation.
Utilizing a manned submarine, a remotely operated vehicle and a volunteer dive team, UVP will conduct experiments up to 1,600 feet below Lake Tahoe's surface. These procedures will serve as training for the crew, prior to their 27,000 mile circumnavigation of the world's oceans in addition to gathering vital information about the lake to share with the local community and beyond.
Sonar images show active faulting beneath Lake Tahoe and very little, if any of these faults have been explored. The submarine will stream live, high-definition video and images of the pilot, crew and underwater findings, along with communications to the support boat, sharing their observations via live broadcast and gathering footage for a documentary UVP will produce.
UVP will also visit Lake Tahoe's adjacent Fallen Leaf Lake, to explore an ancient submerged forest. Several dozen trees, whose carbon dating shows the majority of trees being approximately 1,000 years old, with several trees being much older. These trees will be sonar tagged and core samples will be taken to determine the area's weather patterns at the time of their life.
2008 studies revealed Lake Tahoe's clarity maintaining visibility to an average depth of nearly 69.6 feet, providing excellent diving conditions for the crew. However, the fragile beauty of the nation's largest sub-alpine lake is under threat by fine sediment, algae growth and the introduction of invasive bivalves. UVP will use specialized UV lights on the submersible to 'fluoresce' the algae for effective locating and mapping of their presence. The crew's findings will provide fundamental insight for the effort to preserve Lake Tahoe's crystalline waters.
"Our mission is to learn more about Lake Tahoe's health, so its beauty can be preserved for future generations," said UVP captain and CEO, Scott Cassell. "If we can't save Lake Tahoe, how can we save the world's oceans?"
UVP headquarters will be based out of South Lake Tahoe for the month of May, 2009 while captain and crew conduct dive projects and report on findings. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency will assist inspecting all UVP submersible equipment for aquatic invasive species prior to UVP's first dive on Thurs., April 30.
"The Undersea Voyager Project is coming at a crucial moment in Lake Tahoe's history," said Jeff Cowen, TRPA Liaison. "Our efforts to restore a national treasure and to protect it from aquatic invasive species would go nowhere without research, science and constant vigilance."
Citizens and businesses of Lake Tahoe have responded positively to the project, offering private boats, volunteer efforts and other community support. Those interested in volunteering should contact Reds Regan at 530-573-0459 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteer needs of Undersea Voyager Project include: motorized boats and drivers, certified scuba divers and food for the project crew.
Undersea Voyager Project, a 501(c)(3), is also accepting donations to aid their Lake Tahoe transect and beyond. For general information, visit www.underseavoyagerproject.org.
The Undersea Voyager Project is a non-profit organization established to circumnavigate and study the Earth's oceans (27,000 miles) at depths of 100-1,000 feet utilizing human piloted submersibles. The Project will advance and communicate scientific understanding of the oceans, their interrelationship with climate, and human impact on the marine environment to a global audience.
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