Scientists finish mapping floor of Crater Lake – August 2000

Scientists finish mapping floor of Crater Lake

by U. S. Geological Survey Volcano Hazards Program

release August 2000

Using the latest multibeam sidescan sonar technology, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of New Hampshire finished mapping the bottom of Crater Lake, Oregon, in Crater Lake National Park. Learn more about the survey and new images from the Crater Lake Data Clearinghouse and a USGS press release.

The multibeam sidescan sonar mapping began in late July to collect data from more than 50 million soundings. The survey marks the first time that the entire bottom of the lake has been mapped using modern technology. The project is similar to the mapping of the bottom of Lake Tahoe, which the USGS conducted in August 1998. The digital maps of Lake Tahoe revealed a lake floor littered with the debris of ancient landslides and confirmed the presence of an active earthquake fault.

By mapping the floor of Crater Lake, USGS and other scientists hope the new, detailed, bathymetry study will shed light on certain submerged volcanic landforms and may even lead to the discovery of new vents. They also hope to find features that can help tell when the lake filled, relative to eruptions, provide more clues to the early eruptive history of Mount Mazama, and identify earthquake-triggered landslide deposits.