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On this date in 1935 Hoover Dam (called Boulder Dam at the time ) spanning the Colorado River between Arizona and Nevada was dedicated. It left behind Lake Meade and a recovering western economy. Water passed through its turbines at near terminal velocity which was only dampened throttled in order to eliminate cavitation which would have reduced efficiency and caused erosion of the turbine blades. The dam was a key factor in America’s WWII effort only foreshadowed by the TVA. The Manhattan Project was a mere afterthought in the war effort.
Update: I changed “only dampened” to “throttled” in order to describe the process in ME terms. My engineering degree is in EE and we use another set of terms. As I understand ME terms, damping describes a static process of flow restriction while throttling describes a dynamic process with feedback that controls the feed velocity of a fluid or gas. WTM
After the war, it powered the economic engine in the west and fueled the gambling meccas in Nevada. Lake Meade was a prime recreational area from the late 40′s up until the 80′s. Not everything was sun shine and bliss. Species downstream have become endangered due to the effects of the dam on their environment. The salt front where the Colorado enters the sea (when it is flowing) is slowly moving upstream, really pissing off Mexico. Most of that is actually due to irrigation of United State’s factory farms, but the dam still takes partial blame.