This Minnesota Dam Is Flowing At 100,000 Gallons A Second This Spring
When it comes to measuring mother nature, it's always mind-blowing. As we continue to thaw out from a pretty snowy winter, ground water finds its way to tributaries, and streams.
This year has brought some pretty impressive sights around Northern Minnesota, like Gooseberry Falls. They thawed out and have been roaring for the last couple of weeks.
You can see here that places like the South Pier Inn are encouraging people to get out and visit the area while the falls are spectacular.
Many other rivers and streams have even started to threaten the safety of some bridges. Some of them have had to be closed, like this bridge over the Sturgeon River near Linden Grove.
Also equally impressive is the Thomson Dam near Scanlon, Minnesota. It's located right next to I-35 near Cloquet, Minnesota. If you take highway 210 through Carlton heading to Duluth you can see it. It's upriver from Jay Cooke State Park, and this dam is FLOWING!
My uncle Scottie reached out to me with this fun fact to share with listeners. He's got a degree in engineering, which obviously means he's good at math. He and a coworker of his were trying to figure out how much water actually flows through that damn during the spring. They calculated the results, and it was over 100,000 gallons a second.
I had to ask for him to show his homework, because I wouldn't even know where to begin to start figuring out the answer. It turns out if you know where to look, the math isn't that hard.
The United States Geological Survey tracks the water flow, along with a lot of other things. They can track the discharge rate in cubic feet of the dam per second. The most recent reading at the time of this article is
The number on April 27 we will go off here for math is 13,500 cubic feet per second. It's hard for the average person to fathom that number, so Scottie calculated it in gallons. A cubic foot of water is equal to 7.48052 gallons of water. So 13,500 X 7.48052 equals 100,987.02 gallons per second. That's 6,059,221 gallons a minute, and 363,552,272 an hour. For a full day? 8.7 billion gallons.
Of course this heavy discharge rate won't last forever. The average flow rate even for this time of year is much lower, around 5,000-6,000 cubic feet per second.
So if you want to see some spectacular spring dams, falls, and rivers don't wait and be safe!