Suez & Panama Canal

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by Poida, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. Poida
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    Poida Senior Member

    Here's a question that came up at lunch today.

    The Suez and the Panama Canal have locks in them. Why didn't they just build a standard channel between the two oceans without the locks?
     
  2. Crag Cay
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    Crag Cay Senior Member

    Was it a good lunch? Plenty of chilled Pinot Grigio?

    Even so, this does have the feels of one of those trick questions where the gullible walk right into some (obvious) trap. But here goes.

    The Suez Canal does not have any locks, the the tidal difference at either ends being so slight as to not induce any unworkable currents.

    On the other hand the Panama Canal has to cross the Isthmus of Panama which is quite hilly. Deep cuts were made to reduce the number of locks, but as most of the route follows the Lakes of Gatun and Madden, which are well above sea level, ships do have to get up to that level.
     
  3. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Yeah and once they get up to the lakes of Gatun and Madden its all down hill from there,-- save on diesel.

    This is a good thing as the difference in tide hight of the two oceans would mean horrendous current flowing through, probably imposible to navigate.

    Im just assuming this ,Im not clever or anything, Just guessing!!
     
  4. Poida
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    Poida Senior Member

    Crag no trick question here. Somebody did say that the oceans were at different levels, but I couldn't understand that as Pacific and the Atlantic meet at the bottom of South America (I hope I got the right oceans) so they would have to be at the same level as there would be a step from one ocean to the other. So basically the locks are to get the ships above sea level to cross the lake.

    Are you sure there are no locks in the Suez? Time for Google.
     
  5. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Or,-- Google Earth, go look for yourself, I might just do that, yeah I think I will.
     
  6. Poida
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    Poida Senior Member

    Better still tow my boat down to the boat ramp and take a spin up to the canal and have a look. Yipes Pirates!! Sorry wrong thread.

    Nope no locks.

    I can't get broadband which will allow me to get google earth.

    So if the locks allow ships to travel above sea level in the Panama Canal you would hope they have a sign on the locks saying, "Please Close The Gate Behind You." That'd make one fkn big water slide.

    Poida
     
  7. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    I dont have broadband and I can get Google Earth infact I have just been to look. Bit slow mind you.

    I couldnt see any locks but ships going about there way, mud banks, probably Scallop banks.
     
  8. Poida
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    Poida Senior Member

    Sounds a bit fishy to me Jack!
    I'm going to bed.
     
  9. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    Having been through the Panama Canal twice, I can say definitely that the levels of the two oceans--Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea (not the Atlantic) are indeed different on either side of the isthmus. Also, the tidal range on the Pacific side is much greater than on the Caribbean side.

    For a great read on the Panama Canal, try the book "The Path Between the Seas" by David McCollough. A great book.

    Eric
     
  10. safewalrus
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    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    Would like a dollar for every time I've been through the Panama - ex banana boat deck officer! Nop as so rightly is said the difference between height of oceans at that point is quite significant - plus you gotta get up to the lakes and down the other side which is why one set on the Atlantic (carib. actually) and two on the Pacific!

    As for the Suez canal little or no difference between the Red and Med Sea height - thus no locks nice lake in the middle just the same but no locks (just as well doubt if the locals could operate something that complicated or, more to the point keep it running!!)
     
  11. Mychael
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    Mychael Mychael

    "The Earth is flat, The Earth is Flat" Everyone knows this.. Go away with your foolish ideas of a high and low ocean. lol.

    Mychael
     
  12. Michael Chudy
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    Michael Chudy Yacht Designer

    Balboa Panama (Pacific side) has tides ranging from 12 to 14 feet. Cristobal Panama (Carib. side) has tides ranging from 0 to 1 foot. So it seems likely a level canal would cause tremendous problems. But would it really? Discounting the dificulty in making the canal level, how long would it take the tide surge to travel the length of the canal (50 or so miles)? Here in Maine high tide times between Bucksport (mouth of the Penobscot river) and Bangor (16 miles up river) are virtually the same, with tides in the same 12 to 14 foot range. Interesting problem.
    Mike
     
  13. safewalrus
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    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    Mychael, cause it's flat, just built on a slope is all!
     
  14. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    The problem is that sometimes as the earth slowly turns on its axis the top part goes down to the botton and the water tends to run down that way.

    Try covering a football ( round type) with water,---you will see that the water tends to run to the bottom, but keep it turning slowly and the water stays evenly on the surface. This is why the world revolves.

    Although its very slow it cant turn faster or we would become lighter and have to live in trees.

    I used to be a campanologist so I knows about this stuff.

    Oohhh bloody Sat nights. Think Ille go out!!!!
     

  15. safewalrus
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    safewalrus Ancient Marriner

    Best had Jack or you'll be climbing those trees! with bells on (or is it the Bells you drink thats the problem?)
     
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