The world’s largest hydropower dam

Three Gorges Dam was completed in 2003 and is now the world’s largest hydropower dam. The project began in 1994, when China was looking for a greener and more efficient way to produce energy to meet the demands of the country’s rapidly growing population as well as the advancement of technology.

This dam also served another important purpose. Because of the Yangtze River’s size, the locals experienced floods, particularly during the rainy season, affecting millions of people. The dam was built to improve the quality of life for the people of Hubei Province, but it actually made things worse and slowed the earth’s rotation.

How can a dam slow down the Earth? Most people would think about this at least three times while scratching their heads, and I say this because I did the same thing the first time I heard about it. When the dam was built, it was designed with cutting-edge technology, such as high-efficiency hydro turbines.With the river rising 175 meters above sea level, the dam’s architecture can hold 39 trillion kilograms of water (10 trillion gallons of water). Because so much water was held up, an effect known as “Moment of Inertia” occurred.

Because of the large amount of water being funneled through the dam, Earth loses momentum when rotating. This moment is primarily caused by the planet’s massive body of moving water.

Although this has little impact on us, NASA estimates that the dam only slows the rotation of the Earth by 0.06 microseconds. The rotation of the Earth is actually slowed quite frequently by other factors such as the position of the moon, earthquakes, and even recently proven climate change.

What is even more intriguing, the rotation of the Earth influenced time. Every five years or so, the day is lengthened by one millisecond, which means that in the future, the day could be extended by hours. This even sparked by the North Pole to move by two centimeters.

Was it worthwhile to build the dam?
This was China’s largest investment in a project of this size at the time. The dam’s total cost was slightly more than $28 billion. Aside from the exorbitant price, the large amount of water held back by the dam caused small earthquakes in China’s western region.

Because the earthquakes caused by the dam were unstable, 1.3 million people from that region had to be relocated in order to keep the Chinese people safe. Aside from forcing people to flee their homes, the dam’s construction destroyed historical monuments and the ecosystems of various animal species, putting them in danger of extinction.

The author of this CNN article makes some compelling arguments about the dam and how it affected the people of Hubei province both before and after it was built.

In total, the dam flooded three cities, 114 towns, and 1,680 villages. Because of China’s communist regime at the time, those who went out of their way to protest the dam were killed by the government.

Overall, it appears that the dam harmed the Chinese people rather than improved their quality of life. Although a marvel of engineering, we must question whether it will benefit humanity in the long run. Source:
©2022 Yesterday’s History

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