What Happens When You Pour Water Over the Hoover Dam


There are many different kinds of viral videos on the Internet. Some are inspiring, some are tearjerkers, and others are just plain hilarious. And while we love a good “dog video”, we have to admit that our favorites are the clips that teach us something new!

Case in point: this video of a girl “pouring” water over the side of the Hoover Dam.

Now, we know you might be wondering why we put the word “pouring” in quotation marks—it’s not a typo. You see, the girl is attempting to empty out the contents of the water bottle, but instead of going down, the water simply floats back up. Not exactly a traditional “pour”, if we do say so ourselves!

It certainly is a sight to see—we know that the unexpected image had us scratching our heads upon the first viewing. Eventually, we just had to know why that water seemed to be defying gravity, and interestingly enough, the answer is not as peculiar as you might think.

It’s all about the updraft

If you are a believer in magic, then we are sorry to disappoint you—the water from the girl’s bottle isn’t floating up into the air due to some sort of enchanted happening. It has everything to do with science. Actually, the explanation is really quite simple.

The 221-meter tall Hoover Dam acts as a wind tunnel of sorts against the atmospheric conditions that nestle up to Black Canyon. Because of this, the dam is essentially a barrier that can whip up winds that may be as high as 50 mph.

With all of that swirling pressure building down below, the flat and seemingly endless shape of the dam’s face forces all of the air to go up. Doug Hendrix, a spokesperson for the Hoover Dam, likens the structure to a “funnel” for wind.

This super powerful updraft also affects pretty much everything that stands above the dam. Don’t believe us? When you watch the video, check out the girl’s pony tail, and you’ll see what we mean!

As you probably already suspected, some people have taken this experiment to the next level, even going so far as to throw basketballs over the dam’s ledge. While this is something that we wouldn’t advocate doing, it is interesting to note that the updraft has a similar effect, even on an object that is much heavier than H2O.

Now that you know all about the science, it’s not so hard to believe that the star of the video isn’t practicing some sort of sorcery! In fact, the phenomenon that she’s helping to display is just something that happens on any given day at the Hoover Dam!

To see just how powerful the Hoover Dam updraft is, be sure to click on the video below. Who knew that you could conduct your own experiment at one of America’s most prized landmarks?

What do you think of the Hoover Dam updraft? Have you ever tried this before? Have you tried this at another dam?