Visually stunning and often fantastically engineered, dams are proof that man can indeed tame nature. By controlling the flow of water, cities are able to generate electricity and effectively manage resources.
Some of these monstrous dams inspire awe, wonder—and maybe a few questions that might have some people scratching their heads. For instance, the Hoover Dam is a modern engineering marvel, but it’s difficult to grasp how remarkably powerful it is in the abstract.
One woman found that out firsthand when she ventured to the top of the dam and poured water over the edge. When she did, something occurred that few could have seen coming!
If dams are proof that man can tame nature, then the Hoover Dam is proof that man can positively dominate it. At over 1,200 feet tall, the 80-year-old dam sits on the Arizona-Nevada border and holds back the raging waters of the Colorado River.
While dams like the Hoover may be structurally fantastic—testaments to the powers of architecture, engineering, and design—they also create atmospheres that provoke all kinds of experiments. Like throwing a basketball off its edge, for instance.
In one video that recently took the internet by storm, a woman named Leslie Hutchings stood atop the Hoover Dam. From there, Leslie reached her arm over the ledge and dumped out her water bottle. What followed was either a feat of science or a rift in physics…
Leslie poured the water out and, amazingly, it didn’t fall to the hot stone face of the dam and die there with a futile sizzle. Instead, the water actually appeared to defy gravity and float upwards.
Rest assured, there was no trickery or sleight of hand involved in Leslie’s video. Many others have uploaded similar videos, and for every person, the results are exactly the same: the water floats up (and the pourer gets a little wet). But what were to happen if someone dumped more water out all at once?
Even dumping water out of a hat incurs the same results. In this video, the the water seems at first to make its way towards the river below; however, soon after, it’s shot upwards, just like the water from a bottle.
So, what is the meaning of all this? Does the water simply defy gravity within proximity to Hoover Dam? Is there some sort of foul black magic afoot? A maritime goof designed to generate some interest in the dam as a tourist attract? Believe it or not, science has the answer to this…
The answer is surprisingly simple: when wind and air hit the face of the dam, it follows the curve of the dam and creates an upward draft that lifts things like water. Strangely, though, many who have tried this trick note that you can’t actually feel the draft itself, making it seem like gravity-defying magic.
Thank you to both the Hoover Dam and science for making this awesome video possible! If you want to see Leslie empty the entire water bottle—an oddly satisfying watch—check out the video below…
Incredible! It’s strange how something with such a simple explanation can still be so mesmerizing.
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