- Seven million people visit the Hoover Dam each year because it is the highest concrete arch dam in America, and it created the enormous Lake Mead.
- The dam statistics are: 726.4 feet high, 1,244 feet wide, and 660 feet thick; its hydroelectric generator supplies power to 1.3 million people; and it supplies water to 2 million acres of cropland.
- The Hoover Dam is not the widest or the tallest in the world, but it is close to two of America’s best-known recreational areas: Lake Mead and Las Vegas!
“Excuse me, how wide is the Hoover Dam?” With some seven million sightseers visiting the Hoover Dam every year, imagine how often that question, or some variation of it, gets asked. And why wouldn’t it? The Hoover Dam is the highest concrete arch dam in the United States, and the water it impounds forms one of the largest artificial lakes in the world, the 115-mile-long Lake Mead. (As a matter of fact, the Colorado River had to be rerouted to bring it to the dam.) So you know its measurements are going to be dam impressive.
Take the building materials, for example. The Hoover Dam contains three and one-quarter million cubic yards of concrete, enough to pave a standard-sized highway that ran from New York City to San Francisco. Construction required more than 5,000,000 barrels of cement. More than 5,500,000 cubic yards of material were excavated for the dam’s construction. The dam itself weighs 6,600,000 tons.
Right, But How Wide Is It?
Okay, okay, here are the dimensions. The dam is 726.4 feet high, about the height of a 60-story building. At its crest (it’s widest at the top) the dam stretches for 1,244 feet, spanning the Colorado River between Arizona and Nevada. And to resist the pressure of the Colorado River, the Hoover is 660 thick feet at its base. That’s the length of two football fields! The flow of water through the dam’s turbines generates hydroelectric power that serves 1.3 million people in Nevada, Arizona, and California. Water stored by the dam irrigates 2 million acres of farm fields in California and Arizona.
Is the Hoover Dam the World’s Widest Dam?
Not by a long shot. The Aswan High Dam, in Aswan, Egypt, is about 10 times as long, measuring 12,570 feet in length. The Guri Dam, in Bolivar, Venezuela, is double that again, at 24,364 feet long. Closer to the Hoover’s locale, the Fort Peck Dam in Fort Peck, Montana is 21,026 feet long. For comparison, a blue whale can reach a length of 98 feet. So you could fit about twelve blue whales end-to-end along the Hoover Dam’s length, double that for the Guri Dam, and so on.
In terms of height, the Hoover isn’t top dog either. The tallest dam in the world is the 1,000-foot Jinping-I Dam in Sichuan, China, which is taller than the Eiffel Tower.
Where Is the Hoover Dam Located on a Map?
The Hoover Dam is on the border of southeastern Nevada and northwestern Arizona on the Colorado River. Although it creates Lake Mead, it is technically 6.8 miles from the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. It is also 37 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Matej Hudovernik/Shutterstock.com
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