This Bizarre Phenomenon At Arizona’s Hoover Dam Needs To Be Seen To Be Believed

When it was first planned and constructed in the 1920s and 1930s, the Hoover Dam was one of the tallest dams in the world and a major construction feat. Once finished, the dam was lauded for many things, including the beauty of its engineering.

Hoover Dam, view from bypass bridge.


Its construction combines two kinds of dams (arch and gravity, hence the hyphened name) that relies on its curved, sloped shape and force to keep water contained. But who knew this concrete arch-gravity dam could, in a way, seem like it is defying gravity?

That’s what happened when one Hoover Dam visitor performed an informal science experiment earlier this summer. In the video below, you’ll see Youtuber Leslie Hutchings attempting to pour some water over the edge of the dam but watch what it does.

That looked almost unreal! So what happened here? Just a little simple science.

Huge structures like the Hoover Dam create a strong updraft that causes air to rise. Normally, we see this kind of thing occur with thunderclouds, where two forces of air push together causing one stream of air to rise vertically. In this case, moving air (from a breezy day) pushes against and up the sloped dam, causing it to shoot up with enough force for water to fall up.

Is this defying gravity? Technically, no, but it still looks pretty cool!