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Indiana University students diving for shipwrecks with NOAA

ALPENA, Mich. — Indiana University students packed their diving gear Friday morning after spending a week creating 3D images of shipwrecks along Alpena’s coastline.

Indiana’s Center of Underwater Science just headed back to shore. Divers have spent part of their summer semester working with the National Marine Sanctuary.

Their high tech equipment is being used for an on–going project to help NOAA uncover changes to the shipwreck Shamrock. It’s buried at the mouth of the Thunder Bay.

“When we were in the water, we were collecting the images for the 3–dimensional models,” said Kirsten Hawley, a laboratory coordinator at Indiana University. “Those actually take thousands of images. So we’re working with two GoPros mounted on a bar, and we have those GoPros set to take a picture every two seconds, and we’re just swimming over the wreck.”

The divers will later download their footage and create three dimensional maps. Their research will give the public a detailed view of shipwrecks and help scientists figure out how to maintain them.

“I’m an underwater archaeologist,” said Hawley. “I just think shipwrecks are awesome in general, so the opportunity to be able to see all of these different shipwrecks is really great for me. I’m also an educator, so I love being able to bring the students out here being able to see them develop their scientific skills.”