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12 Engineering Marvels that Are Truly Genius

7. Palm Islands

Palm Jumeirah, one of the three islands among the beautiful Palm Islands, looks like a palm tree from above. All three islands are located offshore of Dubai, UAE, and are artificially made with private residences and hotels built on them. 

Palm Jumeirah
Palm Jumeirah looks like a palm tree from above. Image credit: Shutterstock

The construction of the island, along with the other two islands named “Deira Islands” and “Palm Jebel Ali,” started in 2001, largely funded by Dubai’s huge wealth created by petroleum. The company behind the development of the island was Nakheel.

It is a real estate company publicly owned by the Dubai government. The basic infrastructural construction ended in 2004, and three more years were required for the development of the buildings. The residents finally were able to occupy it in 2007.

The interesting part lies in the fact that the entire island of Palm Jumeirah did not include concrete or steel at all for the construction. The island is entirely made up of sand and rocks. This was the order from the ruler of Dubai who is also the person behind the idea and design of the islands. 

The islands have all the facilities ranging from shopping malls to huge villas for residence. The estimated numbers of people living on the Palm Jumeirah are more than 10,000. The other two islands are larger than Jumeirah, but their development has stopped because of economic instability, and they are supposed to resemble a map of the world from the top. (1, 2)

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8. TauTona Gold Mine 

The TauTona Gold Mine in South Africa is the deepest mine in the world, with lifts working as fast as 16 meters per second. The mine is 3.9 kilometers deep and is also one of the most efficient mines in the country. 

TauTona Mine
TauTona Mine – World’s deepest mining operation. Image credit: worldking

The TauTona Mine is near the town of Carletonville, and it has been operating since 1962. The name “TauTona” finds its meaning in the Setswana language and translates as “great lion.” 

The mine has been working very efficiently, even in the times when prices of gold drop. It has 800-kilometer-long tunnels and 5,600 miners working in the mine. However, it is no surprise that a mine of this scale is life-threatening for the workers, and statistics show that five employees die every year, on average.

At the deepest points in the mine, it becomes extremely difficult to breathe because the temperature rises as one goes deeper into the mine. As of solution, air conditioners are used to cool down the temperature inside the mine. 

The TauTona Mine was not originally the deepest of all mines in the world, but it became one in 2008, beating the East Rand Mine by 400 meters. The lifts constructed in the mine are fast enough to transport the workers from the surface to the bottom in an hour. 

The mine is owned by a global gold mining company, AngloGold Ashanti, which own two mines, Mponeng and Savuka Mines. (1, 2)

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9. Kansai International Airport

The Kansai International Airport is constructed in the middle of Osaka Bay. The airport basically stands on an artificial island, and one of its terminals is the longest airport terminal in the world.

The Kansai Airport was built in order to alleviate the overcrowding of the Itami Airport in Osaka. After the opening of the Kansai Airport on 4 September 1994, the Itami Airport only services domestic flights. 

The Kansai Airport has two terminals in total, and the first one being the longest airport terminal in the world is 1.7 kilometers long. 

The island is located 38 kilometers away from the Osaka Station, off the Honshu shore. The island is four kilometers long and 2.5 kilometers in width, built with precise risk management of earthquakes and tsunamis.

The total cost of construction was calculated at $20,000 billion in 2008. The airport has, however, earned popularity and has been gaining recognition for its services. In 2020, the airport was honored for having the best airport staff in the world and also the world’s best airport for baggage delivery. (source)

10. Millau Viaduct 

The Millau Viaduct is the world’s tallest bridge and is 336.4 meters high. It is a cable-stayed bridge that connects Paris and Barcelona and is considered one of the finest engineering structures of modern times.

Millau Viaduct
Aerial view of Millau Viaduct. Image credit: Shutterstock

Located across the George Valley near Millau in southern France, the Millau Viaduct was formally inaugurated on 14 December 2004. The idea of constructing the huge bridge came as a solution to the rising traffic on the route from Paris to Barcelona in the Millau. The construction began in October 2001, and it took $424 million to pay for the entire project. 

The design of the viaduct and the entire team were headed by two individuals, engineer Michel Virlogeux and architect Norman Foster. 

One of the interesting features of the long bridge is that it is not entirely straight. The reason for such a design is not any geological constraints but the idea that a straight road can possibly give a weird sensation of floating to drivers. Therefore, there is a 20-kilometer long curve in between, and the entire road is also slightly inclined by 3% to increase visibility. 

Because of its exceptional design and construction, the International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering honored the bridge by giving it their Outstanding Structure Award in 2006. (1, 2)

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11. Morning Glory Spillway

Also simply known as “The Glory Hole” is a huge drain at the Monticello Dam at the Berryessa Lake in Northern California. It acts as the lake’s spillway and swallows water at the rate of 48,800 cubic feet per second through an oversized pipe.

Morning Glory Spillway
Morning Glory Spillway

The drain was built between 1953 and 1957. The diameter on the mouth is 72 feet and at the exit, it narrows down to 28 feet. It is not active at all times; it only takes in water when the elevation reaches at least 134 meters.

Morning Glory is named after a flower that grows on a herbaceous climbing plant. The flower is known by the same name because it blossoms in the morning and dies by the night.

The lake is totally not a safe place for swimming. In fact, a student was ingested by the pipe in 1997 and drowned.

However, in the dry seasons, it is used for skateboarding as a ramp. (1, 2)

12. Sart Canal

Sart Canal is a 20.9-kilometer long scenic waterway for boats that connects the town of Nermy and Seneffe in Belgium.

Sart Canal
Sart Canal.

It is also known as “Canal du Centre” and it connects the artificial lake Grand Large at Nirmy and Brussels-Charleroi Canal on the Seneffe side. The entire canal has a total of six locks, five of which are at relief of 4.2 meters and the final one is at 2.2 meters.

The natives always wanted a canal to connect the two towns therefore one was built in 1888 and was put into service in 1919. This canal repeatedly needed resources so it soon became non-feasible.

The new canal or the Sart Canal was opened in September 2002. The old canal could only accommodate boats with a displacement of 350 tons and the new one was way higher than that. The number was as high as 1,350 tons and was further increased to 1,513,000. (source)

Also read: 14 Worst Engineering Disasters of All Time

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