The largest dams in the world

Dams are marvels of engineering that are primarily meant to confine and then control the flow of water. Dams range in size from modest earthen embankments used for agricultural purposes to large concrete constructions utilized for water supply, hydropower, and irrigation.

As of 2021, ICOLD’s World Register of Dams contains 58,700 large dams on record. In this video, we bring you the top 10 biggest of these large dams, and we dare you not to be impressed with their attributes.

First, there’s the Tarbela Dam in Pakistan, which is the world’s largest earth-filled dam with a reservoir capacity of 14.3 billion cubic meters. Earth-filled dams, also known as embankment dams, are reconstructed by compacting successive layers of earth, forming a core with the most impermeable materials, and adding more permeable materials on the upstream and downstream edges.

The Fort Peck Dam in the U.S. is the second-largest dam by structural volume. It’s also the largest hydraulically-filled dam in the U.S. Meanwhile, the Jinping-I Dam in China is the tallest dam in the world. Its arches are 1,000 ft high (305 m).

The Ataturk Dam in Turkey produces 8 billion kWh of energy a year. It accounts for about 3 percent of Turkey’s total energy production. The Kariba Dam in Zimbabwe generates 60 percent of the hydropower for Zambia and Zimbabwe. It also creates the world’s largest man-made lake “Kariba.”

The Oahe Dam in the U.S. is the largest dam built across the Missouri River and creates the U.S.’ fourth-largest reservoir.

Have these dams piqued your curiosity yet? Want to see what the largest dams in the world look like? Then watch our video.

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