San Diego, CA
Hoover Dam Reservoir - Architecture On A Grand Scale
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© Christine Till
Hoover Dam, an engineering and architectural marvel, spans the Colorado River between Arizona and Nevada, some 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas Nevada. The dam, a massive curved wall, is 726 feet high, 45 feet thick at the top and 660 feet at the bottom, and is larger than the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt. It was the tallest dam in the world when it was completet in 1935, and remained the largest producer of hydroelectric power in the world until 1948.
Named for Herbert Hoover, 31st president of the United States, Hoover Dam is filled with 3.25 million cubic yards of concrete, enough to pave a strip 16 feet wide and 8 inches thick from San Francisco to New York City. If the heat produced by the curing concrete could have been concentrated in a baking oven, it could have baked 500,000 loaves of bread per day for three years. The water on the lake side is more than 500 feet deep, and the lake holds a total of 10 trillion or so gallons of water - enough to cover a state like Connecticut 10 feet deep.
Today Hoover Dam is no longer the tallest, the largest by volume or the largest hydroelectric power producer, but remains among the biggest and best-known dams in the world. All its architecture is on a grand scale, and the design has beautiful Art Deco elements, unusual in an engineering project.
Water levels are low in reservoirs all over the parched American West, but in many areas, the amount of water being used is no greater than the amount that evaporates.
August 17th, 2012
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