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Submarines help study Flathead Lake’s unexplored floor

It’s a tight squeeze and hundreds of feet below water
Posted at 2:36 PM, Aug 28, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-28 16:36:17-04

The Flathead Biological Station has used submarines for the first time to study Flathead Lake’s unexplored floor.

It’s a tight squeeze and hundreds of feet below water.

On loan from an independent submarine group, Innerspace Science , scientist Jim Craft says these subs allow Flathead Biological Station to finally see the bottom of Flathead Lake.

“So to get deep into a water body, is difficult for a scuba diver. Very technical. And these submarines were able to get down to depths that our scuba divers just aren’t able to get to that easily," Craft explained.

This allows scientists like Craft to study sections of the lake that were previously unexplored.

“The two person submarine with a mechanical arm on it. So, he was actually able to collect samples for me. He ended up putting something very much like a small vacuum cleaner onto the arm that he could just sweep up some of the surface sediments for me," Craft told MTN News. "And I’ll analyze that for bacterial and alloy composition.”

Craft will have the results to his samples within the next few weeks. The best part of the project is that Innerspace Science is not a commercial business so all of the trips for Flathead Biological Station were free.