The largest drain hole in the world

13 febrero 2007

Located in northern California, the Monticello Dam’s is the largest morning glory spillway all over the world. This funnel-shaped outlet, allows water to bypass the dam when it reaches capacity, as it swallows a rate of 48,400 cubic feet per second (1370 m³/s).

The distance from the funnel to the exit point - which is situated in the south side of the canyon - is about 700 feet.


© 2006 Jeff Carlson, used with permission

This type of spillway is basically a giant cement funnel. The hole's largest diameter is 72 feet and narrows to about 28 feet.





According to Davis Wiki, "for obvious reasons, swimming near the glory hole is both prohibited and stupid. There are buoys strung across the lake to discourage boaters and swimmers from approaching the glory hole and the dam. Furthermore, the glory hole is well fenced off from the land.".

"During the drier months, when Lake Berryessa's water level is well below the rim of the glory hole, skateboarders and bikers sometimes use the spillway's horizontal exit as a half-pipe”.

Finally, you can take a look at the hole on Google Maps:

More info and sources: 1, 2, 3, 4 y 5

Other drain holes (updated from reddit and Fogonazos comments)

Langelsheim (Germany)





Harriman Dam, Vermont - New England (USA)


Turquoise lake, Colorado (USA)


Benagéber, Valencia (Spain)




San Roque Lake, Cordoba (Argentina)


71 Respuestas (Deja un comentario)

  1. Javier dijo...
  2. Here is another big drain hole located in the San Roque lake in Carlos Paz - Argentina
    It swallows a rate of 280 m3/s.
    And the diameter is 60 feet.

    Google maps:
    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=lago+san+roque&ie=UTF8&t=h&om=1&z=17&ll=-31.373851,-64.431818&spn=0.004882,0.007231

    And some pics:
    http://www.welcomeargentina.com/paseos/navegacion_lagosanroque/03.jpg
    http://www.vallepunilla.com.ar/embudo.jpg

  3. Michael dijo...
  4. Skateboarders created the term "half pipe" when they made smaller scale structures modeled after such pipes or "full pipes". Skateboarding in mammoth water pipes such as this damn outlet or the Central Arizona Project pipes in Arizona, USA pre-date the use of the term half-pipe. This pipe has been featured in skateboarding magazines since the 70's.

  5. subcorpus dijo...
  6. that is a big hole ...
    really nice pics ...
    wudnt mind visiting there one day ...
    kewl stuff ...

  7. Alex dijo...
  8. Wow that looks cool. When water is draining through the hole, could you survive going through it with scuba gear?

  9. Kit dijo...
  10. OH MT GOD! I went here with my dad last summer on a randomly-decided roadtrip, this was on the way. We stopped and admired it. It's insane when you're actually there..

  11. Mattieu. dijo...
  12. That's amazing! Thanks for sharing this.

  13. xoc dijo...
  14. I can't believe all that energy is being completely wasted. Even a small Hydro-electric plant could generate massive amounts of electricity, even if it was only sometimes used.

  15. cubedmeatproduct dijo...
  16. there's a big drain in auburn, ma, usa.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=42.218355,+-71.827372&ie=UTF8&z=18&ll=42.218366,-71.827371&spn=0.001939,0.005407&t=k&om=1

    i'll see about maybe getting some pictures soon.

  17. Anónimo dijo...
  18. Dams are harmful to everything and are in no way cool. That thing is a hideous ecocidal monstrosity. Read Derrick Jensen

  19. Anónimo dijo...
  20. Ah hush you environazi.

  21. Ekips dijo...
  22. Did anyone else giggle at the word 'Glory Hole'?

  23. Johnno dijo...
  24. Dams are harmful? Please - do you drink water? Where does your city water supply come from? Idiot.

  25. Anónimo dijo...
  26. Did anyone else giggle at the word 'Glory Hole'?


    yep!

  27. Anónimo dijo...
  28. There is also a large drain at whiskey town lake near redding california.

  29. Anónimo dijo...
  30. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    Read a love story

    http://humtumlove.blogspot.com

  31. Jason dijo...
  32. that's definitely a full pipe, brah

  33. Anónimo dijo...
  34. My immediate thought after seeing that drain hole is to whether it'd be possible to ride thought it like a hydroslide and survive :)

  35. sammy dijo...
  36. Absolutely nuts. reminds me of a similar story that I can't seem to find at the moment of the largest crater in the world. It was so big they reckoned you couldn't fly over it because it sucked you down! If anyone remembers what I am talking about ,could you please post a link to that?

    sam
    www.picturesforwalls.com

  37. R. dijo...
  38. Nice holes, but not nearly as big of a hole as the hole our taxpayers money disappears into going to Iraq and other useless government control projects.

  39. Anónimo dijo...
  40. Oh my God ! Im so happy I could sh1t!

  41. Anónimo dijo...
  42. Those things scare the living hell out of me.

  43. Anónimo dijo...
  44. I bet if it is flowing fast enough and you had some serious safety gear on you could make it without scuba gear.

  45. Sean dijo...
  46. The problem with swimming into a hole like this isn't breathing - it's pressure. Look at the picture of the water coming out - it is very high pressure. You would probably break both ear drums and you might collapse both lungs. The dam is probably 200 feet tall - and your body would be subjected to at least that much water pressure - 6 atmospheres - in a matter of a few seconds.

    The only way it would work is if you could get into it when there was just enough water flowing into it to ease friction, but not enough to fill the pipe. Then it is a question of at what angle the pipe goes from the entrance to vertical and then to horizontal.

  47. seth dijo...
  48. the dam in vermont is round on top but flat on the bottom.
    its pretty old and weathered as well. i searched that one out years ago.
    nice post though..

  49. Anónimo dijo...
  50. XOC

    Because the dam is already providing vast quantities of energy as it is, this drain is only for emergencies essentially, in flooding situations and they need to get the water out of there pronto. Outfitting this pipe to generate power would be a waste in terms of how often it would sit there unused but costing a fortune to install then maintain.

    Anybody confirm my theory?

  51. Anónimo dijo...
  52. Re: Surviving a ride

    Since someone else already covered pressure...

    If it's draining at 48400ft3/s and the exit has radius 14ft, the exit velocity is going to be around 54mi/hr (as a rough approx.). That's pretty quick.

  53. Anónimo dijo...
  54. @sammy

    I think you have this abandoned diamond mine in Siberia on your mind:

    http://www.googleearthcoolplaces.com/related.php?placeid=207

  55. toby dijo...
  56. Sam,
    I believe you're thinking of Meteor Crater Arizona. It's not the biggest in the world but it is the best preserved. Years ago a company was delivering a newly built small aircraft to it's new owner and decided to take a little dip into the crater. After circling the inside they found that the cross winds coming across the rim of the crater made it impossible to escape. They circled until their fuel ran out and crashed. A piece of one of the wings or tail can still be seen lying in the base as a reminder for pilots to not attempt this stupid stunt.

  57. Anónimo dijo...
  58. oh my balls!

  59. Dosetaker dijo...
  60. this meathead just ripped your blog post almost word for word and is claiming it as his own...

    http://www.nonk.info/cool_pictures/cool_pictures/largest_drain_hole_in_the_world.php

  61. Alex Plode dijo...
  62. A chap called Guy Gibson once created much bigger drain holes than this in some German dams.....

  63. tiopacha dijo...
  64. I live near San Roque damn and i've heard stories about people falling or suicides jumping into the hole coming out completely destroyed of the other end. The water pressure will not only mess with your ears and lungs, it will most likely break AT LEAST your neck and backbone.

    A really bizarre way to die.

  65. Anónimo dijo...
  66. this meathead just ripped your blog post almost word for word and is claiming it as his own...

    http://www.nonk.info/cool_pictures/cool_pictures/largest_drain_hole_in_the_world.php

    Dude... it is exactly the same and the guy links bck to this site at the bottom of the story... big deal?

    I would drop in large objects to see how they come out. Like skippy-balls, soccer balls, crates, etc.

  67. Anónimo dijo...
  68. What happens if you and your bmx go arse over face down into it?? Dead??

  69. Anónimo dijo...
  70. No man you can see its horisentel ..
    Check the pic and you see a bike laying on the ground !

    Cheers ! ;)

  71. sinit.com.au dijo...
  72. Thank you for these wonderful pics .
    Cheers http://www.sinit.com.au/

  73. Bozzron dijo...
  74. It's a very big sewer, nice anyway
    Also to be seen at:
    http://sodejuh.blogspot.com
    Fun & babes too....

  75. Anónimo dijo...
  76. hahahahha glory hole.

  77. kenf dijo...
  78. I'm uncomfortable with the phrase; "Morning Glory Spillway"

  79. Anónimo dijo...
  80. mehehehe...... he said glory hole..... mehehehe

  81. Anónimo dijo...
  82. Speaking as an ex Civil Engineer, here's the science bit:

    When traversing this thing while it's active, the issue really isn't pressure.

    Hydrodynamically, there are three components to the fluid's "head" at any given point ("head" is a way of expressing the total energy potential of a dynamic fluid at any point, and is expressed in metres).

    1. Potential energy (height above datum). All the energy is potential at the entrance, and by the time it exits most of it is converted to...

    2. Kinetic (speed). As there is negligible difference in atmospheric pressure at the entrance and exit, ignoring friction, we can assume all of the potential energy becomes kinetic as the water falls. The only way to get significant pressure on the way down would be to steal some kinetic energy by constricting or kinking the pipe, and since that would slow the water (defeating the hole's purpose) it will be a smooth ride. So there is very little head converted into...

    3. Pressure. This will be pretty much 1 atmosphere throughout the system. It is designed this way precisely because this water needs to flow as fast as possible.

    So no, the pressure won't kill you. What WILL kill you is turbulence and friction. Unless the water is verrrry slow, you get turbulent flow, which will buffet you around and basically bash your brains and bones all over the pipe, especially at such speeds. Given how smooth cement isn't, you'll probably also be flayed alive as you go. If the turbulence is particularly bad (although they try to avoid this so not too much speed is lost to friction), then localized pressure from vortices may burst your ear-drums.

    Personally, for survival purposes, I'd wear scuba gear and go in a Zorb (a big inflatable hamster-ball) coated in kevlar. And set up a big, BIG net at the bottom to catch me :-)

    By the way, the turbulence will probably still kill you, so PLEASE don't try this.

    PyroTyger

  83. Anónimo dijo...
  84. Some of these pictures are amazing

    I would love to see this for real

    Is it in the guniess book of records?

  85. Anónimo dijo...
  86. This sort of drain is common enough on large dams. The penstocks at Hoover dam are much larger, but not as visable.

  87. Thomas dijo...
  88. i have linked to this lovely pg from a mention of hole on my blog, (drawg.blogspot.com/2007/03/real-women-have-curves-and-are-ugly.html).. nice work!

  89. Anónimo dijo...
  90. impressive! i came here from a russian blog..lol!

  91. Anónimo dijo...
  92. There is another glory hole as the only spillway at the Owyhee Dam in Malheur County Oregon. It flowed over in 2006. Type Owyhee glory hole into Google image search to see photos.

  93. Anónimo dijo...
  94. Glory hole at Whiskeytown Lake in California.

    http://www.rosescafe.net/cards/sacriver/Gloryhole.jpg

  95. Jester dijo...
  96. I live less than a half hour from the featured largest "glory hole." It's on Lake Berryessa not far from the wine country of Napa, California.

    There have been many people who have committed suicide by throwing themselves into the hole.

  97. free ps3 dijo...
  98. Thanks for the nice post!

  99. Nucleo dijo...
  100. Great!

  101. Anónimo dijo...
  102. Now you're thinking with portals.

  103. Anónimo dijo...
  104. Pueden ver en google map el aliviadero de El Cadillal en Tucumán Argentina, que está muy interesante.

  105. Anónimo dijo...
  106. Rofl GLORY HOLE!

    I could imagine the roar of that huge thing... That looks like a road over the dam. That would be odd looking at it from there...

    It doesn't surprise me it is used to commit suicide.

    Great find!

    Alex, I don't think so. *heh*

  107. Anónimo dijo...
  108. Its amazing how something so simple can be so beautiful. Wow! Thanks for the vision!

  109. Anónimo dijo...
  110. I think I'll drive my boat into it

  111. Carlo dijo...
  112. Good Job! :)

  113. Jenny dijo...
  114. that's a new visual for the term "fire hosin it" Glory Hole...LMAO

  115. Stefan dijo...
  116. Mostly because I just figured-out how to post photos and wanted to some of my OIF photoes online.

  117. Anónimo dijo...
  118. The only reason you're calling him an environazi is because you have no idea what else to say. Instead of being a close minded fuckin idiot why dont you open your know it all ears and listen instead of talk? Maybe you'll learn something valuable

  119. Anónimo dijo...
  120. There's bigger one in Australia - the Geehi Dam overflow, 105ft in diameter and 29ft wide along the tunnel - http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2191/2177851248_d63eb7358e.jpg

  121. Anónimo dijo...
  122. faz tempo q eu queria saber como acontece pra aparecer um buraco daquele tamanho na agua
    agora q descobri n da tanta vontade de decer com uma corda presa a um helicoptero

  123. Anónimo dijo...
  124. whats that?!

  125. Anónimo dijo...
  126. As the previous persons comment said Geehi Dam spillway in the Snowy Mountains Scheme in Ausralia is a nearly identical design and slightly bigger at 32M Diameter and a capacity of 1557 M3/S

  127. Anónimo dijo...
  128. One of my reoccurring nightmares of my childhood involved one of these. The strange thing is, I don't think I had ever seen one prior to the nightmares starting.

    I have since seen the one at the Harriman Dam. I totally freaked out and made my mother drive away from it (the main road looks down on it).

    Creepy fact about the Harriman one: There is a body (or bodies - I forget whether it is one or more than one) in the cement. A worker (or workers) fell into the mold when the cement was being poured and there was no way to pull them out fast enough.

  129. Melissa! dijo...
  130. So, that looks like it would be a totally awesome water ride!! (except the whole dying thing...ahah)

  131. Anónimo dijo...
  132. No way you could slide through simply because you wouldn't slide on concrete and if you did even, any bumps or chunks in the path of sliding would literally have a nasty effect on your body passing...

  133. Anónimo dijo...
  134. You unfortunately wouldn't be able to slide through simply because being made of concrete wouldn't enable you to slide as such but would moreso be a very uncomfortable ride and any raised parts of concrete or imperfections in the path of sliding would have a painful effect on the body passing at such high speed anyway which would more than likely do massive damage to your body!

  135. Anónimo dijo...
  136. Someone has drowned in the glory hole spillway of the Monticello Dam in California.

    Emily T. Schwalen (November 28, 1955 – March 9, 1997) of Davis drowned when she was pulled into the Glory Hole spillway at the Monticello Dam at Lake Berryessa. She held onto the edge of the hole for 20 minutes, but could not be safely approached by witnesses. (San Francisco Chronicle, March 12, 1997)

  137. Anónimo dijo...
  138. That would.. umm.. suck.

  139. Kepler dijo...
  140. Unbelievable information. Great. Thank you.

  141. Anónimo dijo...
  142. No, that is dynamic pressure. Static pressure actually decreases towards the end, so no damage to your eardrums as you say. When you hit the ground is when it gets dangerous, and the turbulence inside that would probably tear you apart.