Underwater imaging on the Great Lakes to locate deep wrecks
Archaeological Studies Program, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
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Commercial Shipping on the Great Lakes began in 1679 with the arrival of the Griffon; the history of Great Lakes shipwrecks began with this same ship in the same year when she failed to reach port after setting sail out of Washington Island for Niagara. Since this first foundering, there have been an estimated 10,000 shipwrecks on the Great Lakes. The current method for locating these shipwrecks has been to do library research to determine a search area and then use side-scan sonar to locate the ship within that given area. Once the wreckage has been located, SCUBA divers descend on the site to identify the ship. Unfortunately, this method only works within the depths that a person can safely descend and ascend, roughly 400 feet, a relatively small portion of the Great Lakes. Recent technological advances in underwater imaging and sonar has made it possible to explore shipwrecks at depths beyond that which a person equipped with SCUBA gear can withstand, but this technology has not yet been utilized on the Great Lakes. This thesis will explore these new technologies and how they would be beneficial in the location, identification, and mapping of Great Lakes shipwrecks located in deep water.
Shipwrecks -- Great Lakes (North America)