13 Facts About the Controversial Massive Chinese Dam That Slowed the Earth’s Rotation


The Three Gorges Dam is one of the most ambitious and equally controversial projects on the planet.

How much do you know about the Three Gorges Dam? You have probably come across dams through your travels, or there may even be a dam near your home town.


Dams can be awe-inspiring, human-made feats of engineering, powering the lives of the surrounding communities.

Yet, in the same breath dams are the subject of notable and significant national, regional or international controversy. And, no dam has garnered as much notoriety as the 3 Gorges Dam; a dam that is so massive in scale that it has actually slowed down the earth’s rotation.

For the uninitiated, a dam is a large barrier built across rivers and streams to confine and utilize the flow of water for human purposes such as irrigation and the generation of hydroelectricity.

So, if you have always wanted to hear the story behind the Three Gorges Dam and what makes it so controversial, it is your lucky day. An efficient man-made monument to innovation, or a destructive monstrosity? Today you will decide. Here are thirteen facts about Three Gorges Dam.

The Dam Was Originally Sun Yat-Sen’s Idea

Often considered the father of modern China, Sun Yat-sen originally proposed the idea of the Three Gorges Dam all the way back in early 1919. Overthrowing China’s Manchu dynasty in 1922,  Sun Yat-sen sparked the revolution that would plant the seeds of what would eventually become the Republic of China.

In an article titled, “A Plan to Development Industry”, Sun Yat-Sen proposed the idea of constructing a dam that not only would help control the flooding of the Yangtze River, but also embody China’s “new might.”  However, it would be a while before the project would come into fruition.

Three Gorges Is Massive

Though some claim the Three Gorges Dam is viewable from space, this is not true. Nevertheless, the dam is massive.  Made of steel and concrete, the steel dam is 7,661 feet long, almost 600 feet high.

Engineers needed 510,000 tons of steel to construct the massive dam. To put that in perspective, with the same resources you could build sixty different Eiffel Towers.

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