Are there submerged towns under lakes created by dam building?

I read that a scientist says that there is a wobble in the earth’s rotation that can be attributed to most of the water behind dams being in the Northern Hemisphere. Since we’ve all seen what happens to tops that start to wobble, that’s a scary thought while the Three Gorges fills up. :frowning:

Welcome to the Dope. It’s customary to post a link to the column you’re posting about, but no biggie. Here it is.

Most fishermen know that plenty of their favorite spots have some sort of man made structure under the water, sometimes no more than an old road bed, but plenty of times houses and barns and the like too. Lake Shabbona in north central Illinois has a few houses under the depths. Sometimes these structures can be key to finding the fish in any given body of water so we’re always on the lookout for them.

As to the wobble idea, I’m not too worried about the Chinese dam. Just so long as that they don’t all jump up and down at the same time and cause something to happen to our orbit. :wink:

“occasional shard of Fiestaware…”

Who says fine craftsmanship is dead?

Donald Westlake set one of his Dortmunder novels (Drowned Hopes) in an underwater upstate NY town–can’t remember which one.

Cecil might have also mentioned the “lost towns” along the St. Lawrence west of Cornwall, Ontario, submerged during the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Most of the population relocated to the new towns of Long Sault and Ingleside.

Do you have a cite? This seems extremely unlikely; the mass of water held by dams has to be trivial compared with the mass of the oceans, not to mention the rest of the planet…plus, this water came from somewhere, most likely the northern hemisphere, in the first place…

When Massachusetts created the Quabbin Reservoir, there wasn’t much left behind of the four towns and numerous farms:

Wikipedia has a good article on it.

Yeah, no kidding…I’m pretty sure that while man can be the source of some grievous environmental damage, I’m pretty sure causing wobbles in the earth’s rotation isn’t one of them. :smiley:

There were several Kentucky towns that were moved when lakes were created, notably Burnside, which was relocated upon the creation of Lake Cumberland, and Eddyville, (hi, EddyTeddyFreddy :wink: ) located on Lake Barkley. Though in separate parts of the state, both lakes were created when the Cumberland River was impounded.

Eddyville is the site of Kentucky State Penitentiary, a maximum security prison frequently referred to as simply “Eddyville.” It was built on a bluff above the river, but when the lake was created, it rose right to the edge of the prison, a massive stone thing sometimes called “the Castle on the Cumberland.” Photo. This picture shows how close it is to the lake.

I’ve been down there and you can see things like steps to nowhere. I also saw some tiles which once formed the entryway to Walgreens. It’s kind of disconcerting to see such things out of context.

“CO²”…Ouch! I know, I know, it wasn’t Cecil, it was his editor.

Since it seems your underlings already have successfully been trained in the art of putting odd and pointless font tags into your web columns, teaching them to use subscript tags in chemical formulas might be worth a try, don’t you think?

I believe a town here in WV called Roanoke was submurged during a dam building project but I can’t find any info on if this is correct or not. I also think the town was moved up the road about 5 miles.

All this talk about uncovering drowned cities for dam maintenance is giving me an urge to re-read Sharyn McCrumb’s, Zombies of the Gene Pool. It’s one of two murder mysteries that she set within SF fandom, the other being Bimbos of the Death Sun. Fandom may have marched on since they were written, but they’re still fun.

I can add the town of Monticello to the list of towns submerged by dams. Monticello, a former farm and ranch community in northern California, was flooded to form Lake Berryessa.

There was a film that came out a few years ago that involved a town to be flooded. It had a bit of a ‘surreal’ look to it. IIRC it was set in the 1940s or early '50s. What was its title?

Yeah - I’ve been there. They still have signs for the towns - “Endfield - Incorporated 1816 - Disestablished 1938”. Strange seeing an ending date on a town sign.

No towns, but 149 farms were purchased for the Kickapoo reservoir.
The dam was never completed for economic and environmental reasons and now the land is a reserve (linked to on the above page)


Northfork by the Polish brothers. Reviews were all over the map, so it’s definitely one of those movies that I don’t recommend unless I know something about a person’s taste in movies. I liked it, though.


I remember seeing this, too, several years ago. Presumably, although the rotational anomaly was quite small, it was measurable. I can’t remember whether this work appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, though; it may have been some something leeched onto and distorted by the popular press.


OK, having had the chance to check this out a little bit, it is apparently true but on a very small scale, as would be expected. One of the scientists who is interested in the phenomenon is Benjamin Fong Chao, of the Goddard Space Center.

It seems that the earth is rotating about .02 millionths of a second faster than it was 40 years ago and is also exhibiting a tiny wobble, both of these being due to the sequestration of water behind dams in the northern hemisphere. These effects are very small and are partially canceled out by other factors.

The reference presumably appears in: Chao BF. Anthropogenic impact on global geodynamics due to reservoir water impoundment. Geophysical Research Letters 22.24 (December 15, 1995): 3529-2532. I don’t have access to verify it, though.


There are many towns in the Western U.S. that had to be abandoned or moved because of dams. For example, the original site of Kettle Falls, WA had to be abandoned in the 1930’s when the Grand Coulee Dam caused the Columbia River (a.k.a. Lake Roosevelt) to back up and flood the area. The whole town was then moved a short distance above the new water line.

I remember when it came out, and the reviews made it sound offbeat and weird… and not in a good way, either. What did you like about it? What is the best criticism(s) that could be made of it?

Come to think of it, wasn’t the loss of land due to dambuilding what got the plot of Deliverance rolling?