Imagine walking through a tunnel surrounded by granite bedrock. Water drips down the sides of the rock while calcium leeched from rocks slowly deposits as stalactites. You know there is history in the rock as a feeling of the ancient washes over you. As you reach the end of the tunnel, you walk into a room and board an elevator. Where do you find yourself? Extraordinarily, we’ve just walked through the solid granite of Buford Dam and find ourselves on the intake side of the dam. As you drive over the dam, did you realize that solid granite bedrock is below the tires of your car? The granite only accounts for a small section of the dam as the majority of the dam is earthen works. Did you ever wonder why Buford Dam was built here? Granite core samples were collected from many sites during the planning stages in the 1950s, and this area was deemed the best. A peek in the granitic tunnel reminds us of the solid granite and gneiss beneath our feet all over Gwinnett County. Next time you cross Buford Dam or one of the many other dams in Georgia, stop and consider for a moment the engineering marvel that is dam. I hope one day you have the chance to experience this amazing wonder as you walk through solid rock holding back billions of gallons of water behind a dam. If the name of our schools are indication (Lanier Middle and Lanier High), the dam is in our backyard. This unique look behind the scenes of Buford Dam will help me provide concrete information to my students so they too can marvel at the ingenuity of this amazing dam that created Lake Lanier.
Erosion around Lake Lanier
Where Lake Lanier meets Buford Dam
Creeks to Coast Day 2, July 10, 2014, Buford Dam
*Cross Posted on the Georgia Aquarium Blog.