A simulation of the collapse of the 3 Gorges Dam has been released on Chinese social media.. More to follow.
On Tuesday, 21st July 2020, Chinese financial news site Caijing Lengyan released a controversial video that simulates the devastating flooding that would occur if the vaunted Three Gorges Dam collapsed. The video shows the path the wall of water might take and includes estimates on the speed, depth, and reach of the floodwaters all the way to Wuhan.
To be clear the Rembau Times cannot independently verify who Caijing Lengyan is. A review of its DNS lookup seems to indicate that this is not an official source of China. It is hosted in the USA using GoDaddy and is less than 1 year old.
Rembau Times Conclusion:
The 3 Gorges Dam has about 12,000 sensors located in its structure. If there was an imminent dam collapse, the 3 Gorges Corporation, which is the Company in charge of running the dam will definitely know about it.
So the question is whether or not this information is fake or deliberately planted by Chinese authorities in order to give people some sort of “advance warning”.
Currently, our conclusion is that this is a hypothetical simulation without any evidence to point that the Chinese authorities intentionally released the video to Caijing Lengyan in order to provide an advance warning. This is because Caijing Lengyan is a rather critical news site and not part of the official or unofficial media apparatus of the Chinese Government. There is also no corroboration or follow through of this on other unofficial channels of the Chinese Government yet. However, this belief will be updated if we detect any hint by official or unofficial channels of the Chinese Government that they believe a collapse to be imminent. On 25th July 2020, at 1445, the Board of Directors of Rembau Times raised the warning level to RED.
The Biggest Risk Facing 3 Gorges Dam : Seepage
Civil engineers among our readers will understand Darcy’s Law. What Darcy’s Law states is that the rate of seepage depends on the pressure difference and is inversely proportional to the length of the flow path. Once seepage is uncontrollable, the soil on which the dam is anchored may start to behave as a Non Newtonian Viscous Fluid in a term called liquefaction.
Chinese authorities have already admitted that the Three Gorges Dam—located on the Yangtze River—has “moved, leaked and distorted.” On the same day the dam saw its most severe flooding of the year. The key term in all of this is not distorted but leaked. As usual the Chinese authorities say everything is ok and within bounds.
What is this leaking? Is it water breaking through the concrete wall, pouring through the dam structure and gushing out of the other side? Nonsense.
The leakage of the dam is about the seepage that is happening through the soil. Now that is super dangerous because it tells us that the Chinese authorities recognize there is a problem. Seepage underneath the dam is not something you can fix. Worse, it portends the liquefaction of the soil above which the entire dam structure rests. Essentially, once the soil loses its ability to sustain the weight of the dam due to the shear force acting through the soil particles, the soil becomes like quicksand. The dam fails catastrophically and suddenly.
What makes this threat imminent is the news that the dam is not anchored to the bedrock of the Yangtze river.
On 25th July 2020 1445 Rembau Standard Time, 3 days after our article on the 3 Gorges Dam first appeared, the Rembau Times is issuing a Red Alert on the structural integrity of the 3 Gorges Dam. Readers have been warned.
Updated with readers comments
We have several readers comments which we would like to address.
First is a link to understand the nature of soil mechanics and how quicksand formed for reader Calvin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eImtYyuQCZ8
Alerts from China goes like this. “There is a virus but there is no human to human transmission” means that the virus is deadly, spreading and could cause a global pandemic, as we are here today. When China raises a flood alert level, it means the water is already at your waist. Those who take China’s reassurances at face value need to be aware of how to decode Chinese official speak. Or as they say in Rembau, ‘fool me once, shame on you. fool me twice, then i am bangang‘.
Second is to address a pertinent point by reader Snake Oil Baron. He points that the structure is sitting on the bedrock as opposed to being embedded in the bedrock. There is also a comment by reader Danny Archer who cites a Daily Mail article which includes comments by the Chinese authorities refuting any imminent danger to the structure of the dam : Read it here.
This is a key point which brings us to a further in depth explanation on how we came about to this Red Alert warning. Keep in mind for 2020, the predictions we have made so far are
- Hong Kong Protests will not gather steam after the “Alamo” style defeat at PolyU (#RememberPolyU). Proven correct.
- US and China to engage in military conflict in fall 2020. Issued in Mar 30, 2020 (Still pending, but risk indicators pointing in the direction. Latest is that China is holding live firing drills). Status: Pending
- Oxy to trade at single digits. (Oh Oxy). Occidental closing price is $16.74 as of Jul 24, 2020. Waiting for 2Q20 and possible Oxy declaring pre-packaged bankruptcy: Status: Pending
- JP Morgan to take on much larger credit costs (See here). Proven correct based on 2Q20 results when JP Morgan took credit costs of $10.4 billion. Market has rallied, but JPM still in rot and has not regained past its $100 mark. Last trading at $98. Status: Proven Correct
- Singapore Election : We said we were not sure about Bloomberg’s view that it was a walk in the park and Bloomberg got Malaysian Election wrong [Fact]. Our view was that it was too close too call. Status: Wrong but not by much (Post election, PAP won 83 seats out of 93 seats but if you listen to the Singapore Government after election, they were definitely not jubilant. Bloomberg called it a Singapore version of a Political Shock.)
- Hong Kong economy to collapse by Dec 2020. (See here). Status: Pending
- In May 23, we said Chinese President Xi Jinping to be replaced (See here). Status: Pending
- Bersatu – UMNO Merger: We made 0 prediction only a recommendation. Refer to the article. Status : Not Applicable
Now to give some background on all the factors we took into account prior to initiating this Red alert warning.
A) 3 Gorges Dam project was shrouded in controversy, most notably for corruption, of which is endemic in China and that the dam was certified by those who built it. This last point is important.
B) Current water level in 3 Gorges dam reservoir is 160m. Design limit is 175m. Max height is 185m before the water cascades over the 3 Gorges dam. Water level reached 163.5m on Tuesday, 21 July. That means Dam is at 91% of design limit. Dam water level went up 8 metres in 2 days last week. Water reached 175m in 2010 which is shown below.
B2) Sitting on the bedrock versus embedded in the bedrock is all about the permeability constant in Darcy’s law. If the dam is embedded on the bedrock, the constant is 0. If it is sitting on the bedrock, the permeability is non zero. Readers can read this article here to understand this better. Bedrock can suffer from surface dissolution.
C) Alerts from China goes like this. “There is a virus but there is no human to human transmission” means that the virus is deadly, spreading and could cause a global pandemic, as we are here today. When China raises a flood alert level, it means the water is already at your waist. Those who take China’s reassurances at face value need to be aware of how to decode Chinese official speak. Or as they say in Rembau, ‘fool me once, shame on you. fool me twice, then i am bangang‘.
D) China is already deploying the most extreme measures to contain the flood. Dykes and levies have been blown up to relieve the pressure upstream. This was the extreme measures taken in 1998.
E) China’s floods come in waves. We have already seen 2 flood waves this past 2 months. Flood No 3 has formed and is now on its way. The situation on the ground is like this.
The issue to us is that the maximum flowthrough rate of the Yangtze basin upstream is of the order of 100,000 m3/s. 3 Gorges Dam discharge capacity is at 60,000 m3/s max. The Dam cannot discharge the full volume of an upstream deluge by any means. Based on the analysis of the 1998 flood pattern, the worst is expected in last week July to 2nd week August. China is already at limit up level before major catastrophe. The major lakes such as Poyang lake are already filled up. Where will the water go?
G) There is increased seismic activity in China. Earthquakes cause an acceleration, measured in gravitational constant (g = 9.8m/s2) on the bedrock which the dam sits, of the order of 0.1 to maybe 0.4. This acts as a shearing force which can cause the dams foundations to fail.
F) Maximum flowthrough rate of the Yangtze basin upstream is of the order of 100,000 m3/s measured in 1998. Dam discharge capacity is at 60,000 m3/s max and downstream is already flooded. The ability of the dam to intercept flood waters is called the clipping rate, measured as a percentage of the inflow that is retained behind the dam (1-Outflow/Inflow) expressed in percentage.
This rate is not a simple linear function. With the dam at maximum capacity, and assuming a 100,000 m3/s inflow and maximum discharge of 60,000m3, the rate at the current configuration is 40%. So 60% of waters are retained behind the dam. That is ok when your dam level is at 150 metres and you got 25 metres to spare. However, when the dam water level is at 165 metres and you got 10 metres to spare before design limit is exceeded and 20 metres to spare before overflowing, you got a problem.
Dam cannot discharge the full volume of an upstream deluge by any means. Based on the analysis of the 1998 flood pattern, the worst is expected in last week July to 2nd week August. China is already at limit up level before major catastrophe.
H) Chinese leadership have been silent on the 3 Gorges dam. Xi Jinping has said nothing. So has Le Keqiang. Now if the entire world is telling you that the dam is brittle, your own citizens are worried that the dam is brittle, and you will know the truth, what would you do? Remember think about it and you can see if they know that the dam is as strong as the propaganda pieces say it is, they would have come out and said something. If they are not sure or doubt it – they would remain quiet as they are right now.
This is the Rembau Times – we are discharging our public service after careful research as this story has not been adequately explained by major media outlets. It is a shame that many media outlets self-censor. We are under no such obligations to any regime and report based on analysis given all available data.
For less stressful news, you can watch this video of a puppy arguing about getting a bath over here. Apart from monitoring China flood situation, we have been following famous DogTubers like Mocha and Milk over here. But forget about starting your own DogTube channel (or CatTube or FishTube or even TortoiseTube) in Malaysia unless you are prepared to spend RM 50,000 on a FINAS license. That is really really really really dumb.