IMAGE VIA PUBLIC DOMAIN
BY MADISON DAPCEVICH | 26 MAY 2021
China’s Three Gorges Dam — so named for the three chasms it encompasses — makes up the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. And the reservoir connected to the dam is capable of holding such a high volume of water that it is rumored to slow and change the rotation of the Earth.
Scientists compared the effects of the dam to the 2004 Indonesian earthquake, which prompted a tsunami that killed nearly 230,000 people. Shifts in mass like those resulting from earthquakes or reservoirs affect the rotation of the Earth because of what is known as the moment of inertia, or rotational inertia.
The phenomenon is not abnormal — a shift in any object’s mass on Earth relative to the axis of rotation will change a moment of inertia, though most are too small to be measured.
NASA'S JET PROPULSION LAB
If filled, the gorge would hold 40 cubic kilometers (10 trillion gallons) of water. That shift of mass would increase the length of day by only 0.06 microseconds.
Based on the evidence from this study, we can rate it as...