Gatun Dam

The Gatun Dam is a large earthen dam across the Chagres River in Panama, near the town of Gatun. The dam, constructed between 1907 and 1913, is a crucial element of the Panama Canal; it impounds the artificial Gatun Lake, which in turn carries ships for 33 kilometres (21 mi) of their transit across the Isthmus of Panama. In addition, a hydro-electric generating station at the dam generates electricity which is used to operate the locks and other equipment in the canal.

Construction of the dam was a great engineering achievement, eclipsed only by the parallel excavation of the Gaillard Cut; at the time of completion, the dam was the largest earth dam in the world, and Lake Gatun was the largest artificial lake in the world.

Read more about Gatun DamDescription, Power Generation, Construction

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History - U.S. Panama Canal Construction, 1904–14
... and feasibility of a canal built with large dam and lake system with three double sets of locks to raise ships to the level of the reservoir and then lower them in locks at the other ocean ... In many places, the new Gatun Lake flooded over the original rail line, and a new line had to be constructed above Gatun Lake's waterline by raising the track ... Building the Gatun Lake reservoir would require less excavation by expensive steam shovels and allow more excavation work that could be done with less expensive dredges ...
Gatun Dam - Construction
... level canal would not have required the dam to be built but would have still required extensive provisions made to accommodate the ever changing Chagres River flow ... (chief engineer, 1905–1907) into determining the suitability of the land at Gatun for the building of a large dam there ... The Gatun Dam serves two important purposes it controls the ever varying Chagres River and creates Gatun Lake ...

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