Hoover Dam will last 10,000 years?

I was watching a YouTube video where the presenter states that;

“If humans disappeared, the Hoover dam would be one of the last things standing over 10,000 years later”

This thing is holding back billions of pounds of water. I can’t imagine it lasting more than a few decades without proper maintainance, let alone 10,000 years.

What do you think?

It might not be an effective dam for very long, but remanents of the structure would likely exist for quite a while.

10,000 years and it might be there in some form. I don’t get why it would be one of the last things standing, though.

Do we not have other structures that could last 10,000 years?

Prolly not many. 10,000 years is a very long time.

The pyramids of Egypt are approaching 5,000 years old. Hoover dam as structure will probably last 10,000 years, but at some point water is going to find a way through or around the dam, and once that starts, well, a river runs through it. I’m not an engineer, but my hunch is that even after the river has forged a new channel, there will be recognizable remnants of the dam there for a long, long time. It’s a massive engineering feat, and worth a visit if you haven’t seen it.

The internal bits regulating water flow will fail first. Then the river will flow underneath it.

Is it unique in any way that would indicate it would be one of the last remaining things in 10,000 years? What about other dams in the world?

I need to get out my DVD of Life After People, in which this issue was addressed. I seem to remember, like the poster above, that internal filters would clog with growth and debris, eventually blocking flow and causing damage that would make the dam fail. Don’t remember the timeline but it was more(I think) on the order of a couple hundred years.

Considering the rate at which the Colorado is drying up, the dam might outlast the river.

Well, there’s Meadowcroft Rockshelter, which a substantial number of people believe is already 16,000 - 19,000 years old. No big reason this won’t last another 10k.

Stonehenge is another good candidate.

That’s my understanding as well. I recall that the lake behind the dam will fill with silt in 400 or so years. If the river starts flowing over the top of the dam, that’s very bad, and I would imagine would be destroyed into pieces a lot sooner than 10,000 years. Maybe if people are around to maintain it and the lake.

The dam has flood channels to drain excess water if Lake Mead fills up too much.

They haven’t been used since 1983, because Lake Mead hasn’t been at capacity since then.

You will note the difference in color on the rocks in this recent photo.

The whitened area is what used to be underwater. The lake has been shrinking for decades because less snow is falling in the Rockies to feed the river.

If this trend continues, which it will, it’s highly improbable that the lake will ever fill to a degree necessary to top the dam.

When I google for “hoover damn concrete” the first listing I see is https://delzottoproducts.com/2017/03/15/long-will-take-concrete-hoover-dam-cure/ which is a corporate website that presents like a Hoover Dam informational site. That page does have the 10,000 year figure tho:

I wonder if the video in the OP is just the result of super-sloppy research?

The Meadowcroft Rockshelter is a natural formation, not a human construction.

Structures at Gobekli Tepe in Turkey are believed to be more than 10,000 years old.

While parts of Hoover Dam are likely to still be around 10,000 years from no, “last thing standing” is too vague to have much meaning. Lots of other structures are likely to be around that long.

I was talking about silt/sedimentation, not water. I would expect any infrastructure supporting the dam to also fail if not maintained, which will also limit the life of the dam.

This photo of the dam in mid-construction gives you an idea of how broad the base of the dam really is. I could see parts of this lasting 10,000 years. The dam is essentially a pyramid made of concrete.

Right. But it is a structure, occupied and modified by humans.

How was it modified? What structure did humans construct in the space that is still present?

There are remnants of stone walls in some ancient caves, but I am not aware that such structures are present at Meadowcroft.

I would only apply “structure” to something that humans actually built. I wouldn’t count a natural formation that was merely occupied.

How much “maintenance” does a billion tons of reinforced concrete really require? Certainly the flood gates, turbines and other moving parts require maintenance. But the structure itself is largely just a big rock. It’s not like engineers have to constantly patch it to keep it from disintegrating.

My guess is where it’s at is the key. As others noted, the dam part will fail long before that, but basically the main structure should still be there for quite a while with the river simply flowing under it in more or less it’s old channel. But the dam is in a pretty geologically stable region and in what is basically a desert, so it’s not going to get the same kinds of weathering effects or plant build up and undermining effect that dams in lusher regions will get.

Not sure there is a comparable dam in the world to the Hoover wrt geologically stable and arid desert region. There are some big ones in Egypt, but I think the Nile will do those in much more rapidly.