Why a Life Collapses - #9381
December 26, 2022
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The dam broke. Those are words no one wants to hear if they live downriver from a dam. But that's exactly what happened near some small towns in southeast Missouri. It was just before daybreak when a dam on Taum Sauk Lake collapsed, sending a billion-gallon torrent of water streaming down the mountain and washing away homes and vehicles. When inspectors began to probe the reason for the collapse, they were dumbfounded by what they discovered. Instead of the granite that they had assumed for decades was the main material keeping the water in the reservoir, they found that the broken portion appeared to consist entirely of just soil and small rock. The breach occurred when an automated system mistakenly pumped too much water into the reservoir. But the reason for the disaster was a dam that was made of material that just couldn't stand the pressure.