Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Empty Military Dam of South Korea

Speaking of items in the news (North Korea's leader recently passed away), another unique hydrologic feature is a reservoir that waits empty in case North Korea ever released a wave of water against Seoul. The Peace Dam can store a volume about one tenth the size of the lake behind Hoover Dam, but it nearly matches the volume behind Geumgang Mountain Dam in North Korea. Ever since the 1980s there has been concern that a North Korean dam could either purposefully (in the case of war) or accidentally (in the case of neglect) cause a disaster downstream. Rumor has it that North Korea attacked South Korea three times with floods in the last ten years, with six people dying two years ago. If used, the Peace Dam might even back up and flood some areas in North Korea, so the threat goes both ways. 

A wide shot of Peace Dam from Panoramio
The dots in the center (people) give a sense of the scale of the dam (from Daniel Plummer's travel blog) 
The location of the Peace Dam

My blog here has a number of other links to hydrologic oddities, found by searching the archives, or looking through the "best of" page.

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