Teton Flood Museum


Manmade disasters are an engineer's nightmare. Yet, engineers can learn from these rare tragedies, and that's why this museum is worth seeing. Reportedly, when the Teton River Dam was being built, some questioned the strength of the underlying bedrock. Their fears came true on June 5, 1976, when the brand-new dam collapsed, releasing some 250,000 acre-feet of water within a matter of hours. Cities were flooded as far away as 120 miles. Eleven people died, hundreds were injured, and 25,000 were left homeless. Parts of the original river channel are still buried under silt and rubble.

Activity Details

Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Other
Topic(s):Forces
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Time:Full day

Fun Fact:(Not a fun fact this time.) The reservoir elevation at the time of the failure of the Teton River Dam was 5,301 feet, and the water level was rising about 3 feet per day. At full capacity, the water surface elevation would have been 5,320 feet.
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