A one-person submarine will probe Crater Lake this summer in an attempt to end the controversy over whether geothermal hot springs exist at the bottom of the extinct volcanic crater.
The undertaking was announced jointly by the chief proponent and the major detractor of the theory that the lake in the southern Cascade Mountains is fed by geothermal hot springs.Jack Dymond, professor of oceanography at Oregon State University, believes there is hydrothermal activity at the bottom of the lake. Joe LaFleur, geologist with the California Energy Co., doubts the theory.
They both agreed that a closer look at the bottom of the 1,932-foot-deep lake should settle the questions.
"I am hoping the deployment of a submersible will answer the questions once and for all," said LaFleur, whose company wants to develop a geothermal power plant near Crater Lake National Park.
LaFleur's company is also fighting legislation introduced by Sen. Mark Hatfield, R-Ore., that would block geothermal energy leases around the park.
Dymond said being able to see and maneuver around the bottom of the lake "will determine the issue of geothermal input."