Researchers Say Key To Lake's Future Found in the Past
A team of researchers conducted a geological survey at Lake Tahoe on Wednesday. They say the key to the lake's future is found in the past, far below the lake's floor.
Gordon Seitz is with the California Geological Survey. He said they were out there today looking at how landslides and earthquakes in the past have impacted the lake.
Seitz said the concern begins with how the lake formed.
"There's different hazards than most other lakes in that it was formed by earthquake faults, which down drop this basin, basically resulting in this large hole that's filled with water that's this lake."
Seitz said Lake Tahoe is unique in that it's the second deepest lake in the U.S., at more than 1,500 feet.
So, if there are landslides or an earthquake, he said tsunami-like waves could quickly form, threatening anyone in the area.
Wednesday, Seitz, along with a few other researchers were busy taking sediment samples from the bottom of the lake. Those samples, Seitz said actually record large events, like landslides or earthquakes.
They get below the lake's floor by using small, man-operated submarines to get to the sediment.
"We're not trying to predict when earthquakes happen, we don't have that technology yet. What we're trying to do is characterize what happened in the past, so we can prepare for what will happen. That is actually more useful for the residence around the lake."