“Mission Mjøsa” receives international attention

In November, an old shipwreck was found at the bottom of Mjøsa, Norway’s largest lake, in a joint mission in cooperation with NTNU and the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment. A new type of sonar technology was used.

Old shipwreck in Mjøsa. Discovered by the subsea robot Hugin.

In November, an old shipwreck was found at the bottom of Mjøsa, Norway’s largest lake, in a joint mission in cooperation with NTNU and the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment. A new type of sonar technology was used.

A month later, both CNN and The Times mention the findings in Mjøsa. Øyvind Ødegård, marine archeologist at NTNU, dates the shipwreck to between the 14th and 19th centuries.

It needs to be investigated more closely to be dated more accurately.

More findings

The wreck lies behind 410 meters depth. It is 10 meters long and 2,4 meters wide, and was found by the subsea robot Hugin.

Øyvind Ødegård.

“The shipwreck is one of several discoveries in “Mission Mjøsa”, which involves mapping cultural monuments, identifying ammunition and waste dumped there by the Raufoss weapons factory and others, and creating systems to monitor them”, says Ødegård, one of the researchers in the mission.

At the bottom of Mjøsa there are several known ship wrecks, and probably several that are yet to be discovered.

“To map archaelogial memories are important, and wrecks from the viking age kan be partially preseverved,” says Ødegård.

The findings the researchers were most concerned about after the last observations was not the ship that was found.

Asgeir J. Sørensen

“Ammunition was discovered in much larger areas than was previously known. The most surprising thing was that a new dumping ground with a large number of aerial bombs was found,” says Asgeir J. Sørensen, professor at the Department of marine technology and director for NTNU AMOS Research Centre of Excellence.

In a chronicle in Oppland Arbeiderblad, Sørensen, Ødegård and several researchers write that several people want a Mjøs action to protect Mjøsa. For decades Mjøsa has been used as a waste site for car wrecks, industrial waste, and a lot of other things. This is badly mapped and potentially dangerous waste.

“The long-term goal is to facilitate a sustainable use of Mjøsa, while maintaining the ecosystem. The data we are collecting will be shared with many end user,» says Sørensen.

Mulitiple institutions are involved in Mission Mjøsa. Among them are the Norwegian Institute for Water Research – NIVA, The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research – NINA, the Ministry of Climate and Environment and Norway’s National Geological Survey – NGU.

Undetonated air bombs

The last mission showed a lot of undetonated air bombs. Each of them has 300 kilos of explosives inside. Photo: Blueye

Biologists involved in Mission Mjøsa are also interested in observing the ecosystems:

Geir Johnsen

“What kind of emissions are found from industry, infrastructure and households? How is the water quality? What significance does runoff from agriculture and the supply of meltwater have on Mjøsa’s health?” says Geir Johnsen, Professor in marine biology at NTNU.

The biologists look at life in Mjøsa and how they are affected by external conditions.

“For the first time we have used the observational pyramid on fresh water. It means that we have used satellites and drones both above and underwater to observe the life in Mjøsa,” says Johnsen.

The information is important for the policy on how to administer Mjøsa, and to take quick and correct decisions based on facts. Mjøsa is the drinking water for 100,000 inhabitants, and the outlet flows into the Oslo-fjord.

“Mission Mjøsa is part of the AMOS’ portfolio. The mapping in Mjøsa takes place in close collaboration with the Norwegian Defense Research Institute (FFI),” says Sørensen.

AMOS has interdisciplinary research with marine biologists, marine archaeologists, marine technicians, and engineering cybernetics involved.

“Advanced underwater robots, sonars and other sensors are used to map the environment in the lake – like Hugin which discovered the wreck,” says Ødegård.

Mission Mjøsa will develop a digital twin and secure Mjøsa as a drinking water source.

Mission Mjøsa’s goal

Mission Mjøsa will facilitate value creation through sustainable use of Mjøsa’s resources and ecosystems while maintaining the ecosystem’s structure, function, productivity, socially critical infrastructure and natural diversity. Mission Mjøsa is a tool to both facilitate value creation, secure water quality and food safety, and to maintain the environmental values ​​in Mjøsa.

Mission Mjøsa launched a cooperation agreement with Innlandet County Council during Ocean Week this year.