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Chickamauga Dam Earthcache

A cache by Better Half Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 04/03/2009
1.5 out of 5
1 out of 5

Size: Size: other (other)

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Geocache Description:

Chickamauga Dam Earthcache is wheelchair accessible and the location is on the Tennessee Riverwalk.


Please send answers prior to posting your find to the earthcache. Do not post the answers in your log. If you can not post your picture at the time of your log, then log it as a note until you can upload the picture. Any log that does not meet the requirements will be deleted without notice.

1.) Picture requirement: My intentions are to have you post your picture with the dam in the background. If you refuse to post your face in the picture, then each log must have a unique picture for each log. Tilting the picture with a photo program will not be acceptable for unique. Group photos must reference who's picture you are in otherwise. A unique picture must be included with every log if you are not in the picture.

Remember that I will delete your log if you post a find saying you will upload the picture or send answers at a later time. Please use the "write a note" feature.

2.) Send answer to the following questions through my profile:
a. Name three reasons why was the Chickamauga dam built?
b. How high is the dam?
c. What is the length across?
e. Two reservoirs were created by the building of the dam, what are they?
f. How many towns were established along the Tennessee and Chickamauga Creek as a result of the building of the dam?
g. You will find a picture of the building of the dam at sight and the second picture down on this earthcache page. Please describe how the dam has changed the surrounding landscape.
h. What is the major priority in the design of TVA reservoir system for Chattanooga?
i. What was the deciding geological factor for the site location choice for the building of the dam?

Chickamauga Dam is the fourth of the TVA's main river projects, and is located 20 miles northeast of Chattanooga. Construction began in January 13, 1936 and the dam went into operation four years later. The filling of Chickamauga Reservoir began January 15, 1940. The water shed for the reservoir is 20,790 square miles.

Completion of the project took over 500,000 cubic yards of concrete and almost 3,000,000 cubic yards of earth and rock, with a cost of almost $40,000,000. A total of 13.9 million man hours were required to complete the Chickamauga Reservoir and Dam project.

Chickamauga Reservoir, with 810 miles of shoreline, has 35,400 square acres of surface area. It was constructed for the purpose of electric power, flood control, navigation, recreation, an adequate supply of water and other related benefits. The lock at Chickamauga Dam is 360 feet by 60 feet, and raises boats and barges up to 50 feet to Nickajack Lake.

Chickamauga got its name from a tribe of indians that broke away from the main body of the Cherokee Nation. The Chickamauga tribe lived in villages nearly a mile long all along the Chickamauga Creek which flows into the main river body just below the dam.

TVA’s reservoir system was primarily designed to protect 15 damage centers—locations that were statistically likely to suffer flood damage.

Of these damage centers, Chattanooga is at greatest risk. The city sits in a low plain between the eastern and western parts of the Tennessee Valley just above the point where the Tennessee River passes through the Cumberland Mountains.

Before TVA started its flood operations, major storms occurring in the 21,400-square-mile drainage area above Chattanooga would cause the Tennessee River to rise rapidly. When it reached Chattanooga, the swollen river would attempt to carry more water through the narrow mountain passes below the city than the river channel would allow. The excess water that could not flow immediately through the mountains would naturally back up to the city, flooding it on the average of once a year. For this reason, reducing the flood risk at Chattanooga was a major priority in the design of the TVA reservoir system and remains a major operating priority today.

The TVA dam and reservoir system prevents millions in flood damages in an average year, but it cannot prevent all flooding.

The largest flood in Chattanooga’s history occurred in March 1867, before the TVA system was created. The flood crested at 58 feet and completely inundated the city. Since the completion of the reservoir system, the highest Chattanooga flood stage was nearly 37 feet, which occurred in 1973. Without regulation, the flood would have crested at 52.4 feet.

The original flood protection plan for Chattanooga called for the construction of levees to supplement the protection provided by upstream reservoirs. But because the city did not meet the requirements of the Flood Control Act of 1936, the levee system was never constructed.

Background and construction
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers surveyed the Chickamauga Island site in the 1920s as a possible site for a dam to protect Chattanooga, which had suffered serious flood damage in 1867, 1875, 1886, and 1917, and to enhance navigation along the river. When the Tennessee Valley Authority was formed in the mid-1930s, it assumed control of navigation and flood control operations in the Tennessee Valley. After extensive surveying, TVA chose the tip of Chickamauga Island over several other sites surveyed by the Army Corps in the vicinity. The Chickamauga project was authorized December 31, 1935, and dam construction began January 13, 1936.

The construction of Chickamauga Dam and its reservoir required the purchase of 61,350 acres (24,830 ha) of land, 6,030 acres (2,440 ha) of which were wooded and had to be cleared. 903 families, 24 cemeteries, and 81 miles (130 km) of roads had to be relocated. An embankment was built to protect parts of Dayton, Tennessee from the reservoir's backwaters, and several roads and buildings in the town of Soddy were relocated or modified. A total of 39 bridges affected by the reservoir were either raised or moved.

The navigation lock at Chickamauga Dam was designed by the Army Corps of Engineers, and was based on the lock design at Guntersville Dam. The lock was initially 60 feet (18 m) x 360 feet (110 m), although the dam was designed in a way that allowed a larger 110 feet (34 m) x 600 feet (180 m) lock to be installed if increases in river traffic ever required it.

Chickamauga Dam was completed and its gates closed on January 15, 1940, constructed at a cost of $42,065,000. The lock was placed into operation on February 26, 1940, and the first generator went online May 4, 1940.

Shaded map showing the extent of the March 1867 flood in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. Dam construction by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the upper Tennessee Valley in the 1930s and 1940s largely ended Chattanooga's persistent flood problems.

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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum

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