The dam that Jack built

The failure of the 305 ft high Teton dam in 1975 inundated an 80 mile long region of Idaho’s Teton and Snake River valleys, affected over 3500 homes, and killed around 13,000 head of cattle. Perhaps because of early warnings, only eleven people were killed. (It was not, of course, built by ‘Jack’, but by contractors for the US Bureau of Reclamation.)

This is the dam that jack built.

These are the abutments of rhyolite
That held up the dam that jack built.

These are the fissures, all filled with grout,
That pierced the abutments of rhyolite
That held up the dam that Jack built.

This is the water that soon sought out
Those pesky fissures, all filled with grout,
That pierced the abutments of rhyolite
That held up the dam that Jack built.

This is the loess which, without doubt,
Soaked up the water that soon sought out
Those pesky fissures, all filled with grout,
That pierced the abutments of rhyolite
That held up the dam that Jack built.

This is ‘hydraulic piping’, formed
Within the loess which, without doubt,
Soaked up the water that soon sought out
Those pesky fissures, all filled with grout,
That pierced the abutments of rhyolite
That held up the dam that Jack built.

These are the people, driven to shout
As the ‘piping’ got worse, “Look out, look out!
Wet loess is weak and, without doubt,
It’s soaked up the water that soon sought out
Those pesky fissures, all filled with grout,
That pierced the abutments of rhyolite
And weakened the dam that Jack built.”

This is the flood, spilled all about,
That killed the people, driven to shout
As the ‘piping’ got worse, “Look out, look out!
(Wet loess is weak and, without doubt,
Soaked up the water that soon sought out
Those pesky fissures, all filled with grout,
That pierced the abutments of rhyolite,
Destroying the dam that Jack built.)

[Image: Wikipedia]
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