Engineering Failures Essay
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The Idaho US-based Teton Dam collapsed dramatically during its first filling on June 5, 1976. It is one of the biggest examples of the Engineering failures in the history. The dam stood majestically with 405-feet height. The Teton dam was designed based on the extremely high modern standards of civil and other forms of engineering. Hence, the failure of the dam received considerable degree of attention from researchers in US and other parts of the world.
Cons and Effects of Teton Dam Failure
The construction of the dam started in 1972 and many people thought that it is going rather swiftly. The controlling authority of the dam, The Bureau of Reclamation faced the criticism over this issue. The soil area was prone to dangers right from the beginning and it proved to be the case.
After Teton dam failure, many reviews and investigations were carried out to find out the root cause of the failure. However, concrete evidence wasn’t provided. worked quite hard in this field and came to the conclusion that a transverse crack of 32 feet was developed just below the crest among the two internal cracks. It was also found that stress state existed in the core in the upper part of the dam in much deeper abutments. As the water level reached the bottom of the 32-feet crack, water flowed past the vertical cracks, and the crack eroded in the form of a large tunnel. As a result, dam failed some hours later.
The results of Teton Dam failure were extremely catastrophic. Some of these are highlighted below:
As the Teton dam collapsed, 251,000 acre-feet of water rushed towards downstream communities. 14 people died as a consequence.
Large economic losses were incurred on US government. The estimated loss was around $400 million for compensating the damages to the private and public properties. This amount doesn’t include the damages incurred to the dam and the related structures.
The engineering failure completely dissolved the confidence of the civil engineers in US. The people are politicians were also in the state of rage.
The failure led to extremely strict safety regulations related to dams in USA and other parts of the world.
One-third of the embankment material was lost.
Several million dollars have been spent to fund the research for finding the causes of the Teton dam failure.
Around 25,000 people were left homeless as a result of the massive flood following the Teton dam failure.
Major losses were incurred at Rexburg and Sugar city and the areas around them. Around 20,000 head of livestocks were victimized and 32 miles of railroad was damaged.
Although Teton dam was designed based on sophisticated engineering standards, yet it failed causing massive loss to lives and properties. However, this engineering failure has given many lessons to the dam designing community around the world. The standards of dam construction and design are raised to elevated levels now so as to consider all kinds of disasters. This failure gives us idea what not to do in the future while designing structures like dams. Many researchers have devoted their efforts to investigate the failure reasons for ensuring better designs in the future.
Eikenberry, F William and others. "Failure of teton dam: a report of findings". Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Engineering and Research Center, 1977.
Muhunthan, B and Schofield, AN. "Liquefaction and dam failures." Geotechnical Special Publication (2000): 266--280.
Sasiharan, Navaratnarajah. "The failure of Teton dam--a new theory based on state based soil mechanics." Washington State University (2003).
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