History is not short of stories of man-made natural disasters, as we have detailed previously. But while it's easy to laugh at the mistakes of the past, it's downright scary to realize how many similar disasters are just waiting to happen, right now.
Between lack of foresight, poor workmanship or just bad luck, the world is full of these ticking time bombs.
6The Campos Novos and Mosul Dams
One look at that thing, and you can probably guess what the problem is.
A modern dam has two main jobs - providing electricity and keeping people from drowning. The builders of the Campos Novos dam in Brazil stopped reading after the word "electricity".
"Fuck it, this is taking too long. TO THE DAM!"
In building the dam, they evicted everyone who lived in the valley below, giving them little more than a stiff middle finger in the way of compensation. They also managed to devastate the fishing trade of the river they plugged up, passing out IOUs in the amount of "Go To Hell" to the people whose livelihoods were disrupted.
To round it all out, the valley the Campos Novos was built on wasn't the best choice for thousands of tons of concrete, and when a tunnel inside of it collapsed under its own weight, cracks developed across its face.
Less overtly dickish, but way more terrifying is the Mosul, the largest dam in Iraq, located upstream from the city of Mosul on the Tigris River. It's built on top of gypsum, a soft mineral which is water soluble, making its eventual collapse all but certain. Really, the whole thing seems like a giant practical joke.
"Drowning is funny, right?"
It's estimated that if Campos Novos were to collapse, it would screw thousands of people out of way more than just houses and fish. Mosul is an even bigger headache; it is estimated that if/when it goes down, it'll bury Baghdad under 15 feet of water, and drop Mosul itself under 65 Feet.
In 2007, when the Campos Novos's 150 foot deep basin leaked out in a single day, the dam's builders Enercan decided they had to do something. After all, had it not been in the midst of a drought, their faulty dam would have killed thousands. Namely, they decided to fill the basin back up and deny that anything was wrong. One specialist on the project even went on record stating, "There is no structural damage to the dam, whatsoever."
"I mean besides that."
In Mosul, two dozen machines have been employed to pump a constant stream of "grout" into the base of the dam, hopefully keeping it shored up while another dam is being constructed downstream, though it remains in danger of collapsing. Luckily, the project is taking place in Iraq, one of the most stable nations in the world. Sure, militant radicals could easily decide to blow it up, but they'd never dream of doing something like that, right?