Tahoe Coring Workshop

Nevada and California researchers are gathering Sept. 15 Sept. 18 to plan a comprehensive program of scientific coring in the Tahoe basin that aims to uncover the mysteries of the alpine lake's geologic origins. The results should help public agencies keep the lake blue and the groundwater clean, and assess the threat of landslides, earthquakes and tsunamis.

The workshop builds on decades of research that has shown, for example, that the area surrounding and underneath the lake is riddled with active faults.

Rich Schweickert, professor of geological sciences at the University of Nevada, Reno, and author of numerous papers about faulting at Lake Tahoe, said coring could answer fundamental questions about the history of climate change at Tahoe as long as 1 million years ago.

"We could reconstruct a record of warm and cold periods that goes back thousands of years, and show how the lake has fluctuated through time before and after humans took up residence," he said. This data could help scientists evaluate the normal range of the lake's clarity and size, and help planners and policymakers learn to best protect and restore Tahoe's unique environment.

Research at Tahoe will also contribute to better understanding threats to Tahoe's residents and structures from geologic hazards, as well as the control and remediation of groundwater contamination from MTBE and other pollutants.

Participants in the workshop will work in teams to develop detailed science plans that will form the basis for proposals that can be submitted to the National Science Foundation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, and other funding agencies. Participants will also address technical, logistical and political issues that will arise from a large complex coring program.

Any researcher interested in the Tahoe basin is invited to apply to the workshop. To apply, please send an e-mail to

Contact: Melanie Robbins
University of Nevada, Reno

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