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Richard Doty

Charles Beeker
IU Underwater Science Program

Last modified: Monday, June 24, 2002

IU receives underwater research contract at Lake Tahoe

A $58,264 contract to conduct underwater research and a land survey at California's Emerald Bay on Lake Tahoe has been awarded to the Indiana University Underwater Science Program by the California State Parks.

Charles Beeker, director of the IU program, said the grant will allow staff and underwater archaeology students to explore and document the remains of fishing vessels sunk about 100 years ago in Emerald Bay. The study also will include a land survey of the remains of the late-19th-century Emerald Bay Resort. Lake Tahoe is in northern California on the California-Nevada border about 100 miles east of Sacramento.

Beeker said a goal of the work will be to determine eligibility of the land findings and submerged fishing vessels for the National Register of Historic Places. The Web site for the project is

"In our underwater research we will use a magnetometer (a large metal detector) pulled behind a boat, coupled with computer technology and the Global Positioning System, to pinpoint the location of vessels sunk years ago," explained Beeker, who has more than 30 years of diving experience. He said the study also will use a remote-controlled underwater camera to photograph findings at the bottom of Emerald Bay, some 300 feet below the surface.

Beeker said he will do some preliminary work on the project later this summer. The IU underwater archaeology students will be involved this fall and next spring in actual diving and research at the site.

The first state shipwreck park in California was established at Emerald Bay in 1994 with assistance from Beeker and the IU Underwater Science Program. That work centered on two large wooden barges sunk in the early 1900s. The new project will expand that research by extensive study of several smaller vessels known as dories that were part of the Emerald Bay Resort fleet in the 1880s.

For more information on this project, contact Beeker at 812-855-5748 or