Earthen Dam

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Introduction of Earthen Dam

An earthen dam is a dam made with soil, typically with a clay core and grass lining. Earthen dams are the oldest type of dam and were first used over 4,000 years ago. Earthen dams are used to impound water for irrigation, flood control, and drinking water supplies.

dams vary in size from small irrigation dams only a few feet high to massive dams over 600 feet high. The largest earthen dam in the world is the Tarbela Dam in Pakistan, which is 11,631 feet long and 469 feet high.

Earthen dams are usually built in two phases. The first phase is to build a dam core with a clay core and grass lining.

Causes of Failure of Earthen Dam

  • There are many potential causes of failure for an earthen dam
  • One of the most common causes is inadequate foundation preparation prior to construction
  • If the foundation is not properly compacted or if there are voids within the foundation, the dam can settle and eventually fail
  • Other potential causes of failure include poor drainage around the dam, seepage through the dam, over-topping of the dam due to excessive rainfall or runoff, and erosion of the dam.

Advantages of Earthen Dam

  • Earthen dams are the most common type of dam and offer a number of advantages, such as:

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  • Earthen dams are relatively inexpensive to construct.

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  • Earthen dams can be built quickly.

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  • Earthen dams are easy to repair and maintain.

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  • Earthen dams are effective at storing water.

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  • Earthen dams can be used to control flooding.

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  • Earthen dams can be used to generate hydroelectric power.

Disadvantages of Earthen Dam

  • There are a few disadvantages of earthen dams:

    Erosion is a major factor in the failure of earthen dams

  • The water flowing over the dam can cause the erosion of the material making up the dam, and once the dam is breached, the water can cause even more damage.

    Earthen dams are also susceptible to earthquake damage

  • The shaking of the ground can cause the dam to fail, and the resulting flood can be devastating.

    Another disadvantage of earthen dams is that they can be expensive to build and maintain

  • The cost of the materials, and the labor required to build the dam, can be significant.

Conclusion

The earthen dam is a simple and effective way to impound water for a wide range of uses, including irrigation, domestic water supply, and flood control. Earthen dams can be constructed with a variety of materials, including sand, clay, and rocks. The size and height of an earthen dam can vary depending on the purpose for which it is being built.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of earthen dams?

Some of the advantages of earthen dams include that they are relatively inexpensive to construct, can be built quickly, are easy to repair and maintain, and are effective at storing water. Some of the disadvantages of earthen dams include that they are susceptible to erosion and earthquake damage, and can be expensive to build and maintain.

What is the largest earthen dam in the world?

The largest earthen dam in the world is the Tarbela Dam in Pakistan.

What are earthen dams used for?

Earthen dams are used for irrigation, flood control, and drinking water supplies.

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