# What is the heaviest thing ever built by mankind?

Inspired by this Business Insider article about unknown world landmarks, in which they mention a palace that may be the heaviest building ever created, the Parliament Palace in Bucharest which weighs, in marble alone, 5.6 billion pounds (2.54 billion kg.)

I’m wondering, what single structure could be heavier? The Great Wall of China? The Taj Mahal?

Any ideas?

Three Gorges Dam?

That’s got my vote. 34 million metric tons, almost 9 times heavier than The Great Pyramid.

This is going to depend heavily on what you consider an individual “thing”, and also on what you consider to count as “built by mankind”. For instance, you could consider an entire city a “thing”. Or you could consider the lake behind the dam to be “made by mankind”, and it’s much bigger than the dam itself.

The dam probably is correct, should have thought of that.

OTOH, considering the number of man-made lakes out there, if those count as “man-made structures”, they will likely take the “heaviest thing made by mankind” prize. By my hasty “need to get this done before the 5-minute edit window closes” calculations, the largest man-made lake is Lake Kariba in Zambia which weighs about 400 trillion pounds.

(Hopes math is right!)

Simulpost with Chronos, obviously.

I wouldn’t count a city… it’s a group of structures. But all the interconnected roads? I can see the argument for the road network to count as a single structure.

I’m having a hard time thinking of a criterion by which Three Gorges would qualify but the Great Wall of China wouldn’t, and I suspect that the Wall is heavier.

How much does the Great Wall weigh?

15 billion X 26 lbs = 390 billion pounds.

8 men to carry a 26 pound brick? Chinese people must have been super malnourished back in the day.

Estimates for the Great Wall of China vary over an order of magnitude, but it seems that the weight of bricks alone is easily over 100 million tons.

Yeah, it’s going to depend on how you define it. Even if you discount the water in man made reservoirs, what about rammed earth structures, like walls and dams? If we consider that, the Great Wall of China gets to add the weight of its rammed earth.

Criteria which allows the dam but not the wall? We could insist that the “structure” has to be in a reasonable area, rather than extending all over the landscape. An extended wall, however massive, just doesn’t “feel” like a single cohesive “structure”. I don’t really buy that, but it’s probably an arguable position.

My current vote is for the Great Wall if we don’t count the water in reservoirs, which I’m inclined not to - the dam is the structure, not the reservoir.

A 26 pound brick needs 8 men to carry it? :dubious:
maybe they mean 260 lb bricks?

The veracity of the information on that site is dubious at best.

First of all, the Great Wall is not a single, cohesive structure; it was built a section at a time over a couple thousand years, from a wide range of materials varying in size and strength.

Secondly, what most people think of as The Great Wall of China are the sections built/rebuilt with brick by the Ming Dynasty, and those are definitely not 26 lb bricks requiring 8 men to carry them; what, did they each have one finger on it?

That said, assuming we are counting the Wall in entirety as a single object, I would have to change my vote to that.

At one time, Fresh Kills was a serious contender, on a path to becoming the highest point on the east coast, but they seem to be taking it down.

BTW, regarding rammed earth and other earthen structures - the largest dams in the world by volume are all earth or rockfill dams larger than the Three Gorges dam (16 million cubic meters of concrete):

Yeah, I know - a 500 million cubic meter earth embankment dam to hold a huge tailings pond isn’t as inspiring as a large hydroelectric dam, but it IS a lot bigger.

Another fringe case, but what about Mount Rushmore?

How would you measure that?
By the cubic volume of the rock representing the faces?
Surely not the entire mountain?

People didn’t make the mountain, they just chiseled the faces onto the side of it.

The only metric that makes sense here is the amount of rock chipped away.

How about a railway system complete with viaducts, cuttings to remove material and causeways? Same might be true of roads.

I think for a road, you would be looking at one route, a long freeway over various types of ground.