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BUILDING TIIT; VIOS ISLAND BREAKWATER At both the Atlantic and Pacific ends of the canal great breakwaters have been built to afford protection to the shipping and to keep the channels free: This Naos breakwater at the Panama end is 17,000 feet long and is built of material excavated from the Culebra Cul. The rock was cumperl into the water from railroad trucks which ran along the wooden trestle shown in the picture.
material instead of the 110 million cubic nations would have arrayed themselves yards the majority members of the board against her in vain had that nation deterof consulting engineers fixed.
mined upon the wedding of the oceans But suppose such a prospect would not by the commingling of their waters at have staggered the American people into Panama. a refusal to go further with a sea-level In conclusion, I wish to call attention canal, what would we have had when it to a story that seems to find acceptance should be completed? A tortuous chan in some quarters. It is to the effect that nel, with a tidal lock at the Pacific end in shipping and insurance circles stand in greater danger of destruction than those dread of slides in the future in the canal. at Gatun; a masonry dam at Gamboa There are two reasons why there is not nearly twice as high as Gatun Dam and the slightest ground for that dread, even a much fairer mark for the dread man if there should be for the story. In the in the flying machine ; a canal in which first place, the canal is not going to be not one of the recently built big ships pronounced a finished waterway until could be handled, making it out of date every yard of debris that can come in has before its completion.
arrived and has been removed. In the When the American people come to second place, the United States governcelebrate the opening of the present ment has pledged its solemn word, canal, they owe a hymn of thanksgiving through definite legislation, to indemnify to that happy fate that led them-yes, any ship-owner for delays or damages led them against their will—to build a caused by the canal or its operatives. lock canal at Panama. To have pursued And Uncle Sam makes the process of rethe course the majority of us—for I am covery easy and prompt in its action. one of that majority—wanted the United When the shipping of the world passes States to pursue would have involved us through the great waterway; some time in one of the most calamitous undertak this year, it will behold the most wonderings in all history.
ful shipway that ever has opened its The meaning of the slides cannot be gates to the nations of the earth. And misunderstood or misinterpreted. They there will be read in the majestic promean that Nature would have interposed portions of the present Culebra Cut the such tremendous obstacles in the way of reason why a sea-level canal was not a sea-level cut through Culebra Mountain built, and why it could not be built within that even the might and power and the toiling and money-spending power of wealth of the giant of the household of the United States.
THE PANAMA CANAL*
By LIEUT. COLONEL WILLIAM L. SIBERT, U. S. ARMY
ENGINEER IN CHARGE OF THE ATLANTIC DIVISION
For a map of the Panama Canal, sce “Bird's-eye View of the Panama Canal." 9 by 18 inches, in NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VLAGAZINE, February, 1912, and also Map of Central America, etc.," 12 by 19 inches, in the February, 1913, number.
THE Panama Canal, as all know, sion engineer of the Atlantic Division, I is being built by the President of have had charge of the construction of
the United States through a com the Gatu locks, the Gati Dam, the mission of seven members, the chairman breakwaters in Colon Harbor, and the and chief engineer of which is Col. excavation of the channel between the George W. Goethals, of the Corps of Gatun locks and the Atlantic Ocean. Engineers, United States Army. As a If there are any people who yet hold member of the commission and as divi the idea that the waters of the Atlantic
*An address to the National Geographic Society, November 29, 1913
A VIEW ON TIT CILIGRES RIVER It is the Chagres River Uat has made the Panama Canal possible. It supplies the water for the Gatun Lake—the largest artificial lake in the
across which the vessels will steam for nearly two-thirds of the entire distance from coast
and Pacific will mingle in this canal, I locks at Gatun and to the Pacific through think that two statements of fact will the locks at Pedro Miguel and I liratores. dispel that idea forever.
The water of the Gatu Lake not needed One of the statements is that for about in passing ships through the locks goes 32 miles this canal is 85 feet above the to the Itlantic Ocean throughi a spillway level of the Atlantic and Pacific. The (see page 170). second statement is that water will not How uphill.
THE DRT IT\TERS IT COLON
Starting at the .\tlantic side, the first HOW THE CIVIL IS DESIGNED
llock that has been done is the construeWhat has really been done is that a tion of the west breakirater at Colon. It great dam has been built across the lower was thought that that breakurater vould end of the valley of the Chagres, entirely be sufficient to insure a safe harbor. The blocking the flow of that river to the sea. line of the canal at Colon is due north The height of the dam and spillway is so and south, and the most destructive fixed that the Chagres River will rise and storms, the "northers, are from a little rise until it reaches a stage 85 feet above west of north: so that the vest breakthe level of either ocean.
At this stage
water will provide a safe anchorage for the Chagres River will form a lake 165 ships during such storms. square miles in area and +5 feet above The prevailing winds at Colon, holla the bottom of the cut that has been made ever, are the trade winds, that blour from through the Continental Divide at Cu the east or north and continue for more lebra.
than nine months of the rear. These The Chagres, therefore, can flow into winds do not produce a sea destructive both oceans—to the Atlantic through the to shipping, but they make a rough har