Hoover Dam engineering question.

Hello, I wondered with all this talk of terrorism and Al-Qaeda, if hypothetically Hoover Dam were to be totally demolished, would Phoenix Arizona be in any danger? Would the immense volume of water pose any flooding risk? What other consequences my result that directly affected Phoenix if a terrorist were to strike Hoover Dam?

What about Palo Verde Nuclear Plant. Would a terrorist strike on the nuclear plant pose any danger to Phoenix if weather were correct? Would it be as bad as the Chernobyl disaster for instance?

Thanks for your time, - snipped-for-privacy@aol.com

Reply to
Anteater
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Are you worried about too much water, or not enough?

Reply to
Richard Henry

[snip]

There are few engineering works as over-built as the Hoover dam. It's overbuilt by a factor of 200. If an entire battalian of army engineers and artillery were to set to destroying the dam, it would take weeks. Keep in mind just how much cement there is in this sucker.

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Look at how the face of the dam slopes. This is because it's solid concrete and much thicker at the bottom. Even if demolition experts were set to destroying it, they'd need a nuke to produce a breech. Ordinary explosives, in say truckload sizes, would do no more than plink little chips off it. You'd never produce a catastrophic failure, but only gradually more and more leaking over the gradually eroding top. Socks

Reply to
puppet_sock

None whatsoever, unless they also created a channel several hundred miles across open desert to divert it there. The flood would stay in/near the Colorado river bed, which is far from Phoenix.

Yuma and other border communities would suffer. Lots of deaths in Mexico, where water would flow where we haven't let that much flow in a long time.

We couldn't get to Las Vegas unless we flew. ;>(

The weather is always correct to poison South Phoenix. Scottsdale would have no issues, which is why it is cited where it is. The water table flows away from Phoenix.

Palo Verde is a better design. What is not as well publisized is the inordinate number of handtools that are buried all around the reactors, for better shielding presumably. ;>)

No, the sky is not falling.

David A. Smith

Reply to
N:dlzc D:aol T:com (dlzc)

As others have said, breaching that thing would be a Major Undertaking. A truckful (or several) of ammonium nitrate won't cut it. The current ban on traffic is purely cosmetic.

Besides, in case you hadn't noticed, it ain't nearly full (nine-year drought, remember?).

Then there's the confluence of hundred year, five hundred year etc. floods that hit a couple decades ago, which blew out all but two of the Salt River bridges in Phoenix. Blow Hoover now, and it would be as a drop in a bucket to that.

Not sure we'd notice what with the smog. California might black out permanently though.

No. Chernobyl was literally a disaster waiting to happen. Palo Verde is not.

IMNSHO the worst thing terrorists could do re: Phoenix is damage the highways leading in (that bring us so much of our consumables), but that'd be very short-term.

Mark L. Fergerson

Reply to
Mark Fergerson

Dear Mark Fergerson:

They could retire here. That could be worse.

David A. Smith

Reply to
N:dlzc D:aol T:com (dlzc)

Doesn't anybody know any engineering? Even a chemist knows where to ding a dam to pop its cork. Look for the leverage. Do a kendo stroke.

What would it take to destroy all of Southern California? Leverage! A dozen Cessnas, a dozen cases of autmobile flares, one Santa Ana wind. Total cost: less than $10K - and a pretty good chance of getting away with it unscathed if you turn off your radar echo.

Reply to
Uncle Al

Oh, I get it. Al is trying to lure stupid terrorists into crashing planes into a huge block of cement. Right...

Yeah, that's the ticket! You want to crash the plane exactly

18 meters from the left edge of the dam (the side away from the visitor centre). The rock will set up vibrations that harmonically amplify, and blow the dam to dust. Yeah, that's it. Socks
Reply to
puppet_sock

Dear puppet_sock:

Dude, you forgot to tell them "on the dry side". You don't want them trying the wet side, they might live.

David A. Smith

Reply to
N:dlzc D:aol T:com (dlzc)

They might stand a better chance of success though. Remember the bouncing bomb of WW2. All they have to do is get hold of a couple of old Lancasters and some really good film music.

John

Reply to
John Manders

This is why 500 million suicidal Muslims with $billions in funding are a bad joke. Stooopidity cannot be overcome, even with money.

Take bin Laden's budget. Buy into Wall Street. Now... crash it. Leverage.

-- Uncle Al

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(Do something naughty to physics)

Reply to
Uncle Al

The Hoover Dam is rather easy to knock out.

Yes, the Dam is thick but Drilling Several holes in the Dam about 3' -

4' x 2"diamter and lacing the surface like this with about 8 sticks of dinamite would produce a crack/holes large enough to topple/or creat a large enough crack to make a hole large enough to release the watter. The trick is that Cement is brittle to shock (even if it is loaded with rebar. You get enough blasts on it, it will topple like everything else.

It will e difficult but won't be impervious to assault.

Its not hard to destroy things, even if they are over designed. Finding the right tools is the only problem.

C-4 attached at several locations can do similar feats also.

Nothing is invunerable.

Stop worrying about it. If your going to die its not like you can do anything about it.

sorry to take the fun out of it.

Reply to
Daniel Lee

[snip]

Hopeless fool. You don't topple a dam. Any deep dam has two obvious leverage points. Take lessons from the Loizeaux family.

Reply to
Uncle Al

It's going to be a bit difficult for terrorists to drill these holes with helicopter gunships shooting thousands of rounds of ammo at them, don't you think?

Reply to
charliew2

Daniel Lee wrote: (snip)

If? Is there some doubt in your mind that you are going to die?

Reply to
John Popelish

An extremely large proportion of all humans who have ever existed have not died yet.

Better odds than the Lotto, anyway.

Reply to
Richard Henry

I think the water would mostly follow the course of the Colorado. Phoenix is really far from there. The surface of the lake is only a couple of hundred feet higher than Phoenix, and it's hundreds of miles away. I think the water wouldn't make it that far.

Mark Folsom

Reply to
Mark Folsom

Shape charges drill nice holes.

Mark Folsom

Reply to
Mark Folsom

Same difference. Someone will still have to place the shape charges, and presumably quite a few of them. This is no small task for something as big as the Hoover Dam. Pardon the pun, but I think that terrorists would decide on the own to go after a softer target.

Reply to
charliew2

A rocket-propelled grenade launcher does a nice job. It can penetrate tank armor. Don't know how much concrete it could burn through, or what the efect of a nice clean one-inch-diameter hole would have on the strength of the dam.

Reply to
Richard Henry

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