How Does the Panama Canal Work?
Video of the Panama Canal in action
The whole time I was at the Panama Canal watching a ship go through with an announcer in the background, I was trying to figure out how it worked.
Some of it made sense to me — by adding or removing water from a section it could raise or lower the boat. What I did not understand is why the locks were needed at all and why it couldn’t just be connected directly, and why the boats needed to be raised and lowered in the first place. Turns out others on the internet have asked this question.
The most succinct answers I found came from a Guardian article — and here is a quote:
“Locks allow a canal to go up and down hills. If there were no locks in the Panama canal, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans couldn’t flow into each other, because there are hills in between.” [source]
I didn’t realize there were hills in between. Here’s a few interesting links, and interesting animations.
How the Panama Canal Works – Wait But Why
The Panama Canal was built because what could possibly be more annoying than shipping something from from San Francisco…waitbutwhy.comHow the Water Locks of Panama Canal Work?
One of the major artificial waterways in the world, Panama Canal connects the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean…www.marineinsight.com
Notes and queries: What would happen if they unlocked the Panama canal?
What would happen if they unlocked the Panama canal? Love at first sight – for beauties only?www.theguardian.comWhy does the Panama Canal need locks? Why not just create an even canal and let ships sail through?
Answer (1 of 4): It is a long distance actually, about 50 miles. There’s a ridge that runs down the Isthmus of Panama…www.quora.com