Kariba: The man-made lake which caused earthquakes at launch

Just as Tanzania is building the giant Julius Nyerere Hydroelectric dam at the heart of the corresponding National Park, it is important to bring into attention the other huge man-made lake on the continent.

This is the Kariba Dam which remains the largest man-made lake in the world.

Kariba dam is located approximately halfway down the mighty Zambezi River which originates from the North-Western side of Zambia.

The history of Lake Kariba is a long and fascinating one. The chief designer of the Kariba Dam Wall, Andre Coyne, was a well-known French engineer and inventor.

Andre Coyne is credited with the designing of other 70 dams in 14 countries around the world.

The construction of the Kariba dam wall took three years in total.

The works for the huge water-holding started on 6 November 1956, and was completed sometime in 1959.

It is reported that more than one million cubic metres of concrete was poured into the walls to sustain the pressure of nearly ten million litres of water passing through the spillway each second.

The filling of Lake Kariba took place between 1958 and 1963 and reportedly caused more than 20 earthquakes of greater than 5 magnitudes on the Richter scale.

In other words the giant man-made lake resulted in the world’s biggest man-made earth tremors.

Swimming with the elephants: Apart from hydroelectric power production, Kariba is one profitable tourists destination

Then followed the operation Noah, which was a five-year wildlife rescue operation, meant to relocate over 7,000 animals, including deadly snakes.

The wildlife species were moved mostly to the Matusadona National Park, whilst Lake Kariba was filling up after the completion of the dam wall.

Around 50 000 people, mostly from the Batonga community were relocated; many were not convinced that the power generated from the lake would be of benefit to them in the long term.

Still, some villagers that were relocated to the waterside found new fishing opportunities on the lake and prospered.

The Kariba structure is 128 meters high with a concrete crest of 579 meters in length.

Lake Kariba boasts the volume of 1,032,000 cubic meters of water and covers an area of 6,000 square kilometres.

The lake has become home to a number of inhabitants in particular kapenta, sardine-like fish that were airlifted from Lake Tanganyika.

Other fish species that have been flourishing at Kariba include the Tiger fish and bream, Hippopotamus and the ferocious Nile crocodile. Herds of Elephants can also be seen stomping along its shores or wading in the waters.

Get real time updates directly on you device, subscribe now.

Comments are closed, but trackbacks and pingbacks are open.