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    Re: An essay about maps
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2010 Nov 14, 21:39 -0800

    Fred Hebard, you wrote:
    "I live near Bristol, VA/TN. A dam was built on the Virginia side (just northwest of Exit 7 on I-81) but the lake never filled; I'm not sure why, have heard that the ground leaked (limestone soils/karst topography). Regardless, the Google map depicts the lake that's never been there!"

    Fred, I LOVE that one. The trails run right through the middle of the phantom reservoir. And apparently you can play soccer underwater. Here's the coordinates of the reservoir if anyone wants to visit: 36.6467,-82.1091.

    The TVA, which built the dam, states on their web site that the Beaver Creek Dam is "a flood detention dam with no permanent reservoir pool." It seems that it was designed only for emergency flood control. But somehow, decades ago, the USGS mapped it as a filled reservoir (Google gets their basic data in the US from the USGS). I wonder if the TVA ever let it fill up just to test its integrity... Probably more likely that boundary just represents the potential size if a flood ever requires closing the dam. By the way, I could find no references to geological or soil issues. The TVA counts it as an active flood-control structure, and it will probably work just fine if Bristol ever needs it.

    -FER


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