3 Gorges Dam

China erected a construction that is so massive that it slows the rotation of the earth!

The 3 Gorges Dam is capable of building the inflowing Yangtze River up 175 meters (575 foot) above sea level. This humongous wall of water eventually alteres the Earth’s moment of inertia causing the rotation to become slower. The construction of the dam redistributed billions of tons of water to a higher altitude, which is the same principle in effect with figure skaters when they close their arms in a jump to spin faster. It also makes the earth slightly more round in the middle and flat on the poles.

NASA has calculated that the dam slows the rotation by 0.06 microseconds, which is six hundredths of a millionth of a second. While that doesn´t sound much, think about what any other manmade building that can claim to have an effect on the planets rotation that is actually measurable? As a matter of fact, other influences constantly make our planets rotation slightly change pace, event slike earthquakes, the moon, or even the climate change e.g in the arctic.

However, a hundredth of a microsecond is not much and one would need to build tens of thousands of similar sized dams to make a change in time perceptible to humans. When it comes to cosmic measures though the tinest and the largest are worth to be observed and since this is manmade it´s truly a feat for the ages.

The 3 Gorges Dam in Hubei province was the world’s largest electricity-generating plant of any kind til 2016 when it got surpassed by the Itaipu Dam, located between Brasil and Paraguay. The 3 Gorges Dam still produces more energy though. It was first ideated in 1919 but building start not earlier than in 1994 and eventually put in operation in 2003.

When the project was constructed, almost1.2 million people were forced to relocate and find new homes. Actually to government build new settlements around the dams area. Eventually 140 villages, 13 cities, and 1,600 settlements including historic sights were lost when the dam was put in operation.

Where there is shadow ther eis light too so you now find 6,400 plant species, 3,400 insect species, 300 fish species, and more than 500 terrestrial vertebrate species in the proximity of the dams ecosystem.

  • Use material: Concrete and steel – It was enough steel to build Eiffel tower 63 times!
  • Length: 2,335 m (7,661 ft)
  • Height: 185 m (607 ft) above sea level
  • Amount of water in the dams reservoir: 39.3 km3
  • Total surface area: 1,045 km2 (403 sq mi)

The “ship lift”

Here a video about a vessel getting lifted…