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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Aswan High Dam | Aswan Egypt Day 4

After lunch, we visited the unfinished obelisk. This obelisk located at the ancient granite quarry at Aswan was supposed to be a massive one. If finished, it would have been a mind-boggling 41.75 meters (app. 137 feet) high - higher than any Egyptian obelisk that were ever actually erected. It was not finished because a crack was discovered in it.

This site was insightful because it shows how the obelisk was created in the ancient times. Being at the quarry, just how did they get create these giant single pieces of rock out of the mountainside? They made a row of holes app. 10 centimeters (4 inches) wide, and inserted wood in the holes. Then they poured water on the wood. The wood then expands by such force because of the water that the rock splits. The basic shape of the obelisk is created by rows of workers pounding the shape on the rock with dolomite rocks, or dolostone, and creating the app. 1 meter (3 feet) wide shafts at each side of the obelisk-to-be. This is possible because the dolomite is even harder than granite. To smoothen the sides, bricks are heated and put on the places that are to be treated. When the rock is sufficiently hot, cold water is poured on, and the uneven parts come off in flakes, thanks to the crystalline structure of the granite.

Unfinished Obelisk in Aswan, Egypt


Then we visited the Aswan Dams. Aswan Dam refers to two dams, both located near Aswan, Egypt. Most commonly today the name refers to the High Dam, which is the newer of the two dams at Aswan. Construction on the High Dam was completed in 1970, and has had immeasurable impacts on the Egyptian economy and culture. The earlier Old Aswan Dam or Aswan Low Dam was completed in 1902. e. The earlier Old Aswan Dam or Aswan Low Dam was completed in 1902. The aim of both of these projects was to regulate river flooding, to provide storage of water for agriculture, and later, to generate electricity.

Before the dams were built, the River Nile flooded each year during summer, as water flowed down the valley from its East African drainage basin. These floods brought high water, plus natural nutrients and minerals that continuously enriched the fertile soil along the river and made the Nile valley ideal for farming, as it had since ancient times. As Egypt's population grew and conditions changed, there came a need to control the flood waters to both protect and support farmland and economically important cotton fields. In high-water years, the whole crop might be wiped out, while in low-water years widespread drought and famine occasionally occurred. With the reservoir storage provided by these dams, the floods could be lessened, and the water could be stored for later release.

Aswan High Dam Pictures









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