Colorado River and Grand Canyon – natural wonders of the world

Colorado River forming the Horseshoe at the Grand Canyon

Colorado River flows through the northwestern Mexico and southwestern United States. It is 2330 km in length, and it reaches the Rocky Mountains in the US, the lake in northern Colorado and the Gulf of California in the territory of Mexico. Colorado river passes through 7 American states and 2 Mexican.

Colorado River has total 629 100 square kilometers catchment area. The river has formed one of the most unique landscapes in the world – the Grand Canyon. It is one of the natural emblems of the United States and extends about 350 km.

The Colorado River is the only one that has wedged so deep within the layers. Thus was formed the canyon of the Colorado River, which is a uniquely beautiful natural area. This is a deep and narrow river valley that can be called one of the natural wonders of the world. The panorama here is more magnificent.
Grand Canyon
Furthermore the area of Colorado River is rich and this makes it attractive to scholars and scientists who study the history of the Earth. The Grand Canyon is actual encyclopedia of the geomorphological development of the crust and earth life, because it is a deep cut of the earth’s crust.

Earth layers have a certain characters and are located in a horizontal row and analyzing them the scientists can determine the time of their formation. And conclusion of the life on Earth in past eras and epochs can made by the remnants of fossils and their composition. There is a Grand Canyon Monitoring and Research Center just for the reason that the area is suitable for analyzing. There have been ongoing research and observations on the disruptive force of the water on the Earth’s layers and the history of our planet.

The area of the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River for centuries been inhabited by Indians. They are the indigenous inhabitants today. Even today this unique inherently area is one of the most visited places in the United States. Each year, approximately 1 million tourists from around the world visit the canyon.

Helicopter Tours From Las Vegas to Grand Canyon

helicopter-tours

Las Vegas is synonymous to gambling, but there is a lot more that you can explore in there. People looking for a fabulous lavish summer destination often travel to Las Vegas, because it welcomes everybody with wide range of non-stop excitement options. One of them is the helicopter tour to Grand Canyon. It is one of the most thrilling things that you can do in Las Vegas. The ride is only 45 minutes. It takes you over most beautiful places and landscape such as Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Colorado River and Grand Cliffs Wash.

Taking Off For The Tour

The Grand Canyon helicopter tours we recommend take off from Las Vegas. You can find them on the website www.HelicopterTours.info . Since it takes less than an hour, they are pretty reasonably priced. They are more convenient and some provide limo transportation to add extra luxury. With some of the options for the tour, you can land at the bottom of the Grand Canyon and enjoy spending some time next to the Colorado River.

Grand Canyon Landing Tours

Grand Canyon SkywalkThe landing tours are the most popular. They sell off really quickly as they tend to land at the bottom and provide several option, which include lunch, sailing on the river or walking on the Grand Canyon Skywalk. These activities are very popular among the travelers. This is the reason it is advisable to book them in advance. If you want to experience something really exciting, we recommend you the Skywalk. There you can walk about 70 – feet along the edge of the canyon, through the glass floor at 4,000 feet height.

Lastly, you can also book the most deluxe version of the helicopter tour. These deluxe tours offer plenty of perks including aerial view of Las Vegas, limo transportation, and taking off from the most convenient place for you. These tours use luxury EcoStar 130 aircraft, designed with extra cabin rooms for sightseeing comfort.

Engineering wonder of the world

Hoover Dam is one of the most famous hydro facilities in the world. Although it does not have a new world record, with its impressive size and history ot its construction, it is an example of how the non-viable project, from an engineering point of view, can become a reality.

The concrete wall

The dam is a concrete arch-gravity dam, built in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River – the border between the states of Arizona and Nevada. It was built within five years, and cost $49 million – about 2.6 billion dollars today. The wall is long 379 meters, high 221 meters, and its thickness is 200m and 15m at the base of the tip. Over 2 million cubic meters of concrete was used for it and nearly 15,000 people have worked on this major project.

The contractors face a number of challenges related to the enormous size of the facility and harsh conditions of the construction site. Most of the technologies used at that time, were applied for the first time. Such as the possibility of uneven cooling and shrinkage of the concrete with such dimensions. Therefore it was decided to be poured blocks. The fitted blocks with a height of 1,5 m but a different size and are staggered. A system of tubes go through them, which is helping the cooling of the concrete. For the constant supply of concrete, over the canyon has been used system of ropes, which constantly passed 18-ton steel buckets, delivering to any part of the wall where it is needed. This is also an innovation for its time.

Behind Hoover Dam is Lake Mead. It stretches for 180km from the wall. It has an area of the impressive 640 square kilometers and the total storage reservoir volume is 35 cubic kilometers. The waters of the pond are not only used for irrigation of agricultural land and household needs, but also for electricity generation. The hydropower is at the foundation of the dam and its total capacity is 2,080 megawatts.

The Hoover Dam Bridge

Hoover Dam Bridge

The bridge is the first concrete-steel composite arch bypass built in the country. It rises 270m above the Colorado River. This make it the 7th highest bridge in the world at the time of its construction, but now occupies the 14th position. Its has a length of 579m and span of 323m. Its full name is Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. The project was completed within five years, and there were more than 1200 workers and 300 engineers. Its value is approximately 114 million U.S. dollars.

Bridge like this, bypassing Hoover dam, is unique in its kind facility that requires an innovative approach to design and implementation. Among the factors that affect the overall project are primarily the cost, aesthetics, and the stages of construction as well as the future operation of the facility. The designers and the builders were facing a huge challenge, because there is no other project with similar requirements to invoke.

Idea and project development

Such a major project has a long history of careful planning and research. The first ideas for the bypass road to divert traffic of Hoover dam, are discussed in the mid-60s of the twentieth century. Even then, there was a significant increase in traffic between both Arizona and Nevada. The two-lane highway runs along the arc of the dam and is part of U.S. Highway 93. The plot is tight, heavy and with sharp turns. This creates conditions for numerous accidents. Today hundreds of thousands of tourists visit the complex each year and the number of cars and trucks passing through this route has increased even more over the years, which only confirms the need for a new bypass way that will simultaneously ease the traffic, will shorten travel time and will allow visitors to safely make their Hoover Dam tour.

For twenty years, until 1988, a series of studies on the project and its implementation have been made. There was also a report on a detailed assessment of the environmental impact. Then there was the preparation of the final investment project. It incorporates access road from Arizona with a length of 1,6km and another road from Nevada 3,5km stretch of country like Nevada, and the most important part of the project – a bridge over the Colorado River with a length of approximately 610m , located 450m from the Hoover Dam downstream.

A consortium of companies was formed. It had to undertake the design and implementation. The designers had to deal with the difficult task to analyze and choose the best of the architectural and design standpoint solution for the future bridge.

The preliminary design was approved by the government and the work on it started in 2001. With its location near Hoover dam, the new bridge will be an integral part of the historic center and will be combined in a unique way with one of the most famous engineering feats in the United States. As prescribed in the report , it is requested to minimize the height of the new facility, so the bridge and the dam can be seen clearly from the dam and river level. The goal is complemention, not competition between the two facilities.

The standard approach for a project of such important is to make a detailed analysis of options for the computational scheme of the bridge, given the architectural features and Bills of Quantities for each option. Through 25 years of research, the work of the designers is somewhat relieved. There were discussios for different variations of the bridge. A scoring system was used to report advantages and disadvantages of each of these variations. The option with the highest number of points is the bridge over the Colorado River to be built as an arc. A suspension bridge was the alternative. But it was rejected due to some design flaws, higher initial and operating cost.

Lake Mead


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This is the largest reservoir in the United States. Southern California and Nevada rely on it as a primary source for their water supply. The lake is located on the Colorado River, 48 miles southeast of Las Vegas. It is situated on the border of the states of Arizona and Nevada.

Lake Mead

The lake was created during the construction of Hoover Dam and stretches to 180 kilometers. During the planning and construction of Hoover Dam, A special agent of the Bureau of Water projects in the U.S., was Elwood Mead. The lake is named after him.

St-Thomas-sign

Тhere was danger of flooding, during the construction of the dam, so the people from several villages points have been evacuated . Nowadays, when the water of the lake falls, you can see the ruins of the city.

Water ski at lake Mead

Lake Mead is visited by ten million tourists each year. It is the fifth most visited park in the National Park system in the United States. It is one of the major tourist destinations of the hotel in Las Vegas. It was declared a national holiday in the area in 1964. Everyone who comes here can have fun while swimming. ride on a boat, water ski, fish. Most beaches around the lake can be reached only by boat. there are different kinds of fish in the lake, but fishing is allowed only for people with valid licenses. Here you can catch catfish, which is considered a culinary delicacy.