The most dangerous dam on the planet’s elevator rant: In 1983, Sadam Hussein’s engineers build a gigantic dam on a bed of soft, water-soluble rock and guess what it starts to leak almost immediately and they have to keep injecting a concrete mixture into its base continuously so it doesn’t collapse and after the U.S. invades it leads an effort to fix it which believe it or not fails because of “incompetence” and “oversights” but the U.S. Army Corps of mosul-dam-corps-of-engineer.jpgEngineers is convinced that failure is imminent and have studies to prove it which Iraqui officials who claim the dam is safe reject and so 500,000 inhabitants of Mosul face the prospect of drowning in the mother of all dam catastrophes! pant-pant-pant

If this weren’t a great tragedy in the making there would be so much to laugh about here. Like the nuanced difference of opinion: The USACE calls the Mosul the most dangerous dam in the world and says that it could fail with hugely disastrous results any minute, while Iraquis insist that there is no real danger. We shouldn’t take the USARCE’s word for anything having to do with the safety of dams, but maybe in this case they’re a tad more credible than the Iraquis, who built a huge dam on porous terrain that dissolves on contact with water.

The team is tired and hungry and faces a long commute. Instead of continuing to rant, we’ll let the keeper of a fantastic science-oriented water blog, Hydro-Logic, tell you the whole sordid story. He also offers a lot of links to articles about it, like this one from the NY Times.


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