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Posted: 8/31/2015 7:44:00 AM EDT
My friend and I were boating on Lake Mead the other day, and having recently watched the gripping documentary narrated by Dwayne Johnson titled "San Andreas", discussed our chances during a dam failure. The question is:

If you were on a typical Lake Mead motorboat (say >18' w/ > 200+HP) and the dam collapsed due to an earthquake, would you be able to ride it out? Most boating takes place away from the dam, at least a few miles away.

Obviously most river communities and boaters downstream are f#^%#^, but what about those folks on the water upstream?

Link Posted: 8/31/2015 7:45:14 AM EDT
You'll be fine as long as your boat is on a treadmill.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 7:46:56 AM EDT
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Quoted:
You'll be fine as long as your boat is on a treadmill.
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Would we rotate when we achieved enough treasdpeed?
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 7:51:47 AM EDT
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Quoted:



Would we rotate when we achieved enough treasdpeed?
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Quoted:
Quoted:
You'll be fine as long as your boat is on a treadmill.



Would we rotate when we achieved enough treasdpeed?


Only if the magnets are attached.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 7:54:33 AM EDT
As low as Lake Mead is that'd be a hell of an earthquake to make any water escape.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 7:54:35 AM EDT
Maybe in a side canyon.  In the main channel near the dam, no way.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 7:59:05 AM EDT
On a serious note, if you were a few miles away from the dam I think about all you'd notice was that the lake level was dropping and that you were drifting more than usual.  Beaching the boat at that point would be trivial.

Velocity of water would increase as you got closer to the dam breach.

If you were hanging out by the dam, sayonara muchacho.  

edit - fixed.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 7:59:45 AM EDT
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Quoted:
As low as Lake Mead is that'd be a hell of an earthquake to make any water escape.
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It's low, but still quite a bit higher than Lake Mohave below it.

How fast does (can) water travel by gravity in that situation?

ETA: I may have misinterpreted?
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 8:02:28 AM EDT
The key factor is not to run against the current but to pick a point of land you could get to.



And by get to I mean run aground at full speed.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 8:02:45 AM EDT
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Quoted:

If you were hanging out by the damn, sayonara muchacho.  
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Link Posted: 8/31/2015 8:08:23 AM EDT
You will die.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 8:09:58 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 8:10:47 AM EDT
Even if you got to the dam long after the break, would you want to ride the swift current through all of the debris? Imagine all of the jagged concrete  laying around, the sharp rebar all over the place.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 8:11:44 AM EDT
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Quoted:
The key factor is not to run against the current but to pick a point of land you could get to.

And by get to I mean run aground at full speed.
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This sounds like a wise course of action
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 8:13:54 AM EDT
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Quoted:
Even if you got to the dam long after the break, would you want to ride the swift current through all of the debris? Imagine all of the jagged concrete  laying around, the sharp rebar all over the place.
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Yeah, I'm sure the dam would not completely disintegrate; you would have to ride the rapids created by the debris. But could you avoid getting to that point? Reference the pic, most boating takes place in the large basin to the left and beyond.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 8:17:01 AM EDT
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Quoted:
On a serious note, if you were a few miles away from the dam I think about all you'd notice was that the lake level was dropping and that you were drifting more than usual.  Beaching the boat at that point would be trivial.

Velocity of water would increase as you got closer to the dam breach.
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This was my argument, but have no facts to back it up.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 8:17:55 AM EDT
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Quoted:



It's low, but still quite a bit higher than Lake Mohave below it.

How fast does (can) water travel by gravity in that situation?

ETA: I may have misinterpreted?
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Quoted:
Quoted:
As low as Lake Mead is that'd be a hell of an earthquake to make any water escape.



It's low, but still quite a bit higher than Lake Mohave below it.

How fast does (can) water travel by gravity in that situation?

ETA: I may have misinterpreted?


it would take a hell of an earthquake. What's the water level right now?   eta: 1078ft.

Link Posted: 8/31/2015 8:18:07 AM EDT
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Quoted:
You will die.
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We're all gonna die
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 8:19:30 AM EDT
~1070ft

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Quoted:


it would take a hell of an earthquake. What's the water level right now?

http://www.riversimulator.org/Resources/Graphs/HooverDamImportantElevationsUSBR.jpg
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Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
As low as Lake Mead is that'd be a hell of an earthquake to make any water escape.



It's low, but still quite a bit higher than Lake Mohave below it.

How fast does (can) water travel by gravity in that situation?

ETA: I may have misinterpreted?


it would take a hell of an earthquake. What's the water level right now?

http://www.riversimulator.org/Resources/Graphs/HooverDamImportantElevationsUSBR.jpg

Link Posted: 8/31/2015 8:25:17 AM EDT
It just struck me that you did not see this movie. I remember them discussing extended earthquakes north of 9.x

They also flew a helicopter from Las Vegas to San Francisco in less than an hour on one tank o' fuel only to suffer a gearbox failure leading to an autorotation landing nearly missing a parent and baby stroller by inches.

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Quoted:


it would take a hell of an earthquake. What's the water level right now?   eta: 1078ft.

http://www.riversimulator.org/Resources/Graphs/HooverDamImportantElevationsUSBR.jpg
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Quoted:
Quoted:
Quoted:
As low as Lake Mead is that'd be a hell of an earthquake to make any water escape.



It's low, but still quite a bit higher than Lake Mohave below it.

How fast does (can) water travel by gravity in that situation?

ETA: I may have misinterpreted?


it would take a hell of an earthquake. What's the water level right now?   eta: 1078ft.

http://www.riversimulator.org/Resources/Graphs/HooverDamImportantElevationsUSBR.jpg

Link Posted: 8/31/2015 8:33:51 AM EDT
Look for dam collapse on YouTube.

I found one video of a collapse while a little 15ft boat was 1/2 mile away.  The guy on the boat saw the water flowing through, he turned and full powered away.

Eta.
At 1:36 you can see the boat come into view.
https://youtu.be/7OflIsb0He4
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 8:43:07 AM EDT
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Quoted:
Look for dam collapse on YouTube.

I found one video of a collapse while a little 15ft boat was 1/2 mile away.  The guy on the boat saw the water flowing through, he turned and full powered away.

Eta.
At 1:36 you can see the boat come into view.
https://youtu.be/7OflIsb0He4
View Quote

There was also a lake in Louisiana I believe that started draining into a salt mine.  Some guys fishing were able to get away from the whirlpool in their boat.  
Not exactly the same thing but similar.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 8:53:44 AM EDT
The hard part is finding a good beach.


Link Posted: 8/31/2015 8:55:04 AM EDT
Can you throw the anchor over?  It might not stop you completely but it'd slow you down.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 8:58:32 AM EDT
OP did the unpossible...he started a water treadmill thread...
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 9:00:46 AM EDT
Probably best to immediately jump out of the boat and swim for it.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 9:11:22 AM EDT
wut?
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 9:52:06 AM EDT
Make a run for land would be the only chance you'd have.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 10:00:13 AM EDT
18 foot runabout and 200hp+ = 60mph boat + or -...haul ass upstream and beach it...
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 10:02:36 AM EDT
You walk back home after your boat ends up on a sandbar.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 10:09:51 AM EDT
I used to white water kayak a bit.  In the lake, I suspect the biggest problem would be handling a boat in current.  it is simply not an issue of your boat being faster than the current, but maneuvering your across shifting current lines.  I seriously doubt that the boat would remain upright very long.  Once you get into the actual damn breakage, stuff in the water (dealing with both surface and subsurface currents), will be impossible to miss, because they will be near impossible to see.  Think why so many people die in a normal flood - then make it 100 times worse.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 10:18:25 AM EDT
It would take days for the lake to empty. Assuming you aren't in a canoe, you'd be fine.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 10:22:55 AM EDT
Quoted:
My friend and I were boating on Lake Mead the other day, and having recently watched the gripping documentary narrated by Dwayne Johnson titled "San Andreas...
View Quote

Yeah I LOL at some of the ridiculous scenes in that movie. In such a dam collapse if you were close to the dam itself, no you probably wouldn't survive if it was the Hoover Dam that collapsed. Due to hight of the water being held back and the velocity of that water flow down stream initially. If one was at the other end of the lake they probably would survive simply because of the amount of water and the time it would take for that water to flow down stream.

I was LOL at the end of the movie where they had the motor boat scaling the Tsunami wall of water, then racing through debris choked water (with zero dead bodies visible) and NOT losing its prop.  
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 10:30:23 AM EDT
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Quoted:
It would take days for the lake to empty. Assuming you aren't in a canoe, you'd be fine.
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Depends on the size of the breech and the size of the resouvour.

When they breeched Condit dam in 2011, the experts thought it would take at least 6 hours to drain.  It actually took about 2 hours.

The action starts at around 35 seconds (hot chickie snack around 2:10):    Condit Dam removal

Embedded:

Link Posted: 8/31/2015 10:37:46 AM EDT
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Quoted:
You'll be fine as long as your boat is on a treadmill.
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Basically, it would be.
If your boat could run faster one way than the water the other, fuel would be a concern as would the "depth" of the break.
I would treat it like a rip current and ride in the direction of the dam at an angle to the shore to guarantee I would be able to beach the boat.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 10:44:52 AM EDT
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Quoted:

There was also a lake in Louisiana I believe that started draining into a salt mine. Some guys fishing were able to get away from the whirlpool in their boat.  
Not exactly the same thing but similar.
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Quoted:
Quoted:
Look for dam collapse on YouTube.

I found one video of a collapse while a little 15ft boat was 1/2 mile away.  The guy on the boat saw the water flowing through, he turned and full powered away.

Eta.
At 1:36 you can see the boat come into view.
https://youtu.be/7OflIsb0He4

There was also a lake in Louisiana I believe that started draining into a salt mine. Some guys fishing were able to get away from the whirlpool in their boat.  
Not exactly the same thing but similar.


I just watched a video on YouTube about that.  When the lake completely drained, the river the went to the Gulf of Mexico reversed and filled it back up with salt water creating a 150 foot waterfall.  Must have been crazy watching that completely unfold.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 10:48:45 AM EDT
Riding the effluent during the initial phase wouldn't be bad, I don't think.  What would be bad would be when things got so shallow that you ran into something, and flipped the boat, and the rest of the water kept washing trees, rocks, houses, etc. right over your head.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 11:21:34 AM EDT
Horsepower is the correct answer.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 12:03:17 PM EDT
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Quoted:
Horsepower is the correct answer.
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Correct. You have 2 courses depending on how epic you want the youtube video.

The first, and riskiest, is to run downstream until you find the crest of the wave. Motor just over top of it, get in the pipe and surf to Willow Beach. Calmly find a slip at the marina, go in and order a beer.


The other, more mundane course which, by the way, is straight out of the Annapolis training manual, is to point the bow upstream, pick a spot on shore and maintain power to keep you even with that point as the water recedes. Just before you run out of water, remember to trim the outboard full up. Once the lake has drained, get out and collect a cooler full of fish, walk back to the truck, drive to the boat, load and pull it to Willow Beach. Have a fresh fish cookout with your newfound surfer friends, who are buying beer.

Link Posted: 8/31/2015 12:40:29 PM EDT
Your boat will achieve  warp speed...not in a good way .
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 12:48:17 PM EDT
This thread drew me in with

gripping documentary narrated by Dwayne Johnson titled "San Andreas"
View Quote


Some analysis is in order.  We need to construct a graph of minimum safe distance from dam vs horsepower.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 12:59:42 PM EDT
You people do realize that the damn lake is hundreds of feet deep, right?  Or at least, it certainly is near the dam.  We're talking 600-700 feet of water.

First off, this thing isn't going to drain quickly.  Even if you completely removed the dam and it wasn't some fairly massive hole in it, it would take hours, maybe even days to empty.  Your boat doesn't have the fuel for that.

And to complicate the problem, ok, so you plan to beach it.  That's a great idea...until you realize that as that water recedes, you'll be further and further up that canyon wall from the bottom.  After a few hours, you're several hundred feet up and in very mortal danger again.

No matter which say you slice it, it's going to suck.  Your best hope is to be far enough from the damn to find a marina or something, dump the boat, and get the hell out of the canyon before the thing drains.  We're talking about a movement of water that would likely exceed the flow of niagara, Victoria, and iguazu falls combined.  That's an absolutely unbelievable amount of water.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 1:02:12 PM EDT
Do any of y'all have any idea at all how much energy it would take to destroy that dam, in the first place? Before you start worrying about surviving the ride down the old river course, you need to figure out how the fuck you're going to survive the tidal wave produced by that nuclear explosion or asteroid strike that took out the dam.

Hoover dam isn't going to just crumble under the force of an earthquake; that thing is massive, and its anchored in bedrock. The engineers that built it took earthquakes into account, and it's over-engineered to survive them. Conventional explosives aren't going to do the job, either, so forget about a terrorist attack, at least until they manage to get control of asteroids coming in from orbit, because that or a nuke strike is about the only way such a dam is going to be taken out. Period.

The most likely outcome of something like that happening while you're boating on Lake Mead is akin to what would happen if you were in a small pool when an 800-lb fat guy belly-flops into the pool from thirty feet up. You'll find yourself laying on top of the patio furniture, going "WTF just happened...?".
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 1:04:37 PM EDT
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Even if you got to the dam long after the break, would you want to ride the swift current through all of the debris? Imagine all of the jagged concrete  laying around, the sharp rebar all over the place.
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This. You'd want to beach somewhere on the lake as the water level dropped, not go with the flow through the breach in the dam.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 1:05:17 PM EDT
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Quoted:

There was also a lake in Louisiana I believe that started draining into a salt mine.  Some guys fishing were able to get away from the whirlpool in their boat.  
Not exactly the same thing but similar.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Quoted:
Look for dam collapse on YouTube.

I found one video of a collapse while a little 15ft boat was 1/2 mile away.  The guy on the boat saw the water flowing through, he turned and full powered away.

Eta.
At 1:36 you can see the boat come into view.
https://youtu.be/7OflIsb0He4

There was also a lake in Louisiana I believe that started draining into a salt mine.  Some guys fishing were able to get away from the whirlpool in their boat.  
Not exactly the same thing but similar.


Wasn't there a huge thread on this about how it was going to cause SHTF?
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 3:58:22 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Look for dam collapse on YouTube.

I found one video of a collapse while a little 15ft boat was 1/2 mile away.  The guy on the boat saw the water flowing through, he turned and full powered away.

Eta.
At 1:36 you can see the boat come into view.
https://youtu.be/7OflIsb0He4
View Quote



"I think I'll check out the dam brea- OH CRAP!!!!"
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 3:59:18 PM EDT
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Quoted:
Probably best to immediately jump out of the boat and swim for it.
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Is this like ejecting the drop tanks and going full afterburner?
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 4:01:41 PM EDT
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Quoted:

Yeah I LOL at some of the ridiculous scenes in that movie. In such a dam collapse if you were close to the dam itself, no you probably wouldn't survive if it was the Hoover Dam that collapsed. Due to hight of the water being held back and the velocity of that water flow down stream initially. If one was at the other end of the lake they probably would survive simply because of the amount of water and the time it would take for that water to flow down stream.

I was LOL at the end of the movie where they had the motor boat scaling the Tsunami wall of water, then racing through debris choked water (with zero dead bodies visible) and NOT losing its prop.  
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Quoted:
My friend and I were boating on Lake Mead the other day, and having recently watched the gripping documentary narrated by Dwayne Johnson titled "San Andreas...

Yeah I LOL at some of the ridiculous scenes in that movie. In such a dam collapse if you were close to the dam itself, no you probably wouldn't survive if it was the Hoover Dam that collapsed. Due to hight of the water being held back and the velocity of that water flow down stream initially. If one was at the other end of the lake they probably would survive simply because of the amount of water and the time it would take for that water to flow down stream.

I was LOL at the end of the movie where they had the motor boat scaling the Tsunami wall of water, then racing through debris choked water (with zero dead bodies visible) and NOT losing its prop.  


The opening helicopter scene was spot on, though
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 4:03:26 PM EDT
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Quoted:
This thread drew me in with



Some analysis is in order.  We need to construct a graph of minimum safe distance from dam vs horsepower.
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Quoted:
This thread drew me in with

gripping documentary narrated by Dwayne Johnson titled "San Andreas"


Some analysis is in order.  We need to construct a graph of minimum safe distance from dam vs horsepower.


We could then sell this data to NPS for the evacuation alarm, ala Aliens: "Alet, Alet, You now have 3 minutes to reach minimum safe distance"
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 4:04:59 PM EDT
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Quoted:
Do any of y'all have any idea at all how much energy it would take to destroy that dam, in the first place? Before you start worrying about surviving the ride down the old river course, you need to figure out how the fuck you're going to survive the tidal wave produced by that nuclear explosion or asteroid strike that took out the dam.

Hoover dam isn't going to just crumble under the force of an earthquake; that thing is massive, and its anchored in bedrock. The engineers that built it took earthquakes into account, and it's over-engineered to survive them. Conventional explosives aren't going to do the job, either, so forget about a terrorist attack, at least until they manage to get control of asteroids coming in from orbit, because that or a nuke strike is about the only way such a dam is going to be taken out. Period.

The most likely outcome of something like that happening while you're boating on Lake Mead is akin to what would happen if you were in a small pool when an 800-lb fat guy belly-flops into the pool from thirty feet up. You'll find yourself laying on top of the patio furniture, going "WTF just happened...?".
View Quote


Without having watched the documentary, it's difficult to imagine the forces involved. I encourage you to view it with your loved ones. Have a plan. Be ready.
Link Posted: 8/31/2015 4:08:07 PM EDT
Good luck swimming with the lakelurks.
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