Collaboration between MAST, OHC, and OSU

In Summer 2016 the Maritime Archaeological Survey Team (MAST) mooring for the Morning Star historic shipwreck (Ohio Archaeological Inventory number 33LN295) served as a platform for collecting water quality data.  In a collaborative effort, the Ohio State Historic Preservation Office connected Stone Laboratory of The Ohio State University, who have water quality probes (sonde), with MAST, who has a submerged anchor block and the technical capability to install the probe.  MAST members deployed the sonde on the Morning Star anchor block Labor Day and recovered it October 1st.

Dr. Justin Chaffin of Stone Lab set up the sonde with the following sensors: water temperature, specific conductivity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity (a water clarity sensor), pH, total algae, and blue-green algae. Data was recorded every 20 minutes. Placing the probe near the bottom of the lake in the central basin was intended to monitor the “dead zone,” which is the cold layer of water near the bottom that is prone to run out of oxygen throughout summer.

Oxygen is measured in mg/L (a.k.a. parts per million or ppm).    Fish, in general, need about 6 mg/L oxygen to survive. Zero oxygen water is often called a “dead zone.” Dead zones set up every summer in the central basin of Lake Erie in cool bottom waters. The warm water above the thermocline (the separation between warm upper water and cool bottom water) remains oxygenated.

The results of the experiment produced some interesting data. The sonde measurements confirmed anoxic bottom water (without oxygen) upon deployment. On the evening of September 24th, oxygenated warm surface water was mixed down to the bottom and it remained there for about 24 hours. Then anoxic cold water hit the bottom again for about 12 hours. After that, warm oxygenated water returned to the bottom and remained there until the sonde was retrieved. So deployment of the sonde captured the fall turnover of water in the central basin really well.
This year’s deployment provided some excellent data and served as a valuable test case for additional sensors to be placed at other MAST buoyed shipwrecks sites. By working together, Stone Lab can obtain valuable water quality data in areas to which they otherwise would not have easy access, the Ohio State Historic Preservation Office receives important information on the underwater environment at these historic shipwreck locations, and MAST furthers its mission of documentation, scientific study and education pertaining to underwater archaeological resources.


MAST members: Joe Lardner, Ken Marshall (holding bracket and sensor), Don Andree


MAST mounting the sensor bracket to the Morning Star anchor block

MAST Annual Workshop and Banquet scheduled for spring 2016

The MAST/GLHS 2015 annual workshop and banquet will be held at the National Museum of the Great Lakes and Maumee Bay lodge on April 9th and 10th 2016. 

The annual banquet will feature a presentation entitled "Solving the Mystery of the SS Lakeland"  by Wisconsin State Underwater Archaeologist Tamara Thomson. 

Registration for the workshop and banquet can be downloaded here.



MAST Annual Workshop and Banquet Weekend set for May 3-4, 2014

A MAST member conducting survey work in Lake Erie.  

A MAST member conducting survey work in Lake Erie.

The 2014 MAST Annual Nautical Archaeology Workshop is set for Saturday and Sunday May 3-4, 2014 at the Great Lakes Historical Society's National Museum of the Great Lakes opening Spring, 2014.

This year's workshop is sure to fill up fast and space is limited.  Saturday evening's annual MAST banquet will feature Fritz Hanselmann of Texas State's Underwater Archaeology and Exploration Initiative so get your tickets fast for this sure to sell out event.

For more information contact Carrie Sowden at