Three Gorges Dam: This dam affected earth’s rotation

Can the Three Gorges Dam in China slow the Earth's rotation?
Interesting Engineering

If we are talking about size, this dam would definitely be humongous. Well, that's just for the size, as there are far more interesting and controversial things behind the Three Gorges Dam in China.

This dam is actually the largest in the world. The Three Gorges Dam is a hydroelectric dam that spans the Yangtze River, the longest river in Asia. Aside from this, it is also the world's largest concrete structure.

Think about hitting two birds with one stone but here it would be two records with one huge dam. 

The dam was envisioned in 1919 by former politician Sun Yat-sen during The International Development of China, but construction didn't happen until it was approved by the National People's Congress in 1994. 

The Three Gorges Dam is 1.4 miles (2.2 km) long and 607 ft (180 m) above sea level. Such a large structure required 27.2 million cubic meters of concrete and 463000 tons of steel. This amount is already enough to build around 63 Eiffel towers. 

It took 17 years with 40,000 people working on the dam, which is estimated to cost around 37 billion dollars. Once operational, it can produce 22,500 MW of energy powered by the 32 6000-ton generators installed. This amount is comparable to the amount needed to run 15 nuclear reactors, which is enough for 60 million people!

Aside from this, the dam has a large reservoir that covers approximately 405 square miles (1048.95 km2). It can protect millions of people downstream by holding the Yangtze river at bay during the flood season. Additionally, the dam claimed to reduce 1.4 million tons of carbon dioxide, 4.3 million tons of acid nitrate, and 800 thousand tons of hydrogen sulfide. 

However, every good thing comes with a price, as there are negative reactions raised concerning the impacts of the dam. Early into its construction, around a million people were forced to relocate, and it flooded 13 cities. It also affects the wildlife and ecosystem of the areas near its location, and that's not the end of it.

The Three Gorges Dam is claimed to be slowing the Earth's rotation! The huge capacity of the dam can hold 42 billion tons of water at maximum. NASA scientists believe that this shift has an impact on Earth. This amount of water positioned 5 feet 10 inches (177 cm) above sea level slows the Earth's rotation by increasing its moment of inertia. 

The results? Possibly longer days and nights, according to physics, and increased body weight due to less centrifugal force.