Digging the Gaillard Cut, Panama Canal

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tiff scanned file from original glass slide
More has been heard of the Gaillard Cut than any other single point along the Canal. This cut was formerly called the Culebra Cut, but the official name now is that given above. It was here that most of the digging had to be done in building the Canal, and it is in the Gaillard Cut that slides have taken place so as to stop traffic through the Canal for months. It is in this section that future difficulties are likely to be met, for the earth so lies that the pressure of the mountains drives it toward the Canal. Look at the map of the Western Hemisphere. You will observe that a great mountain system runs from Alaska to Chile. The Rocky Mountains and the Andes are parts of this system of mountains. These mountains run through Panama. The Gaillard Cut is the place where the Panama Canal crosses them. The bottom of the Canal in the Gaillard Cut is the lowest place in the mountain system from Alaska to Chile. To Cut through the mountains was a great task. In places the cut is 500 feet deep. The channel of the Canal here is 300 feet wide. But as you see great stretches of the hill had to be taken off to keep the dirt and rocks from sliding into the channel. The entire length of the cut is 9 miles. But its deep parts are only 3 or 3 miles long. Almost one half the total digging the Americans did on the Canal was done in Gaillard Cut. About 106,000,000 cubic yards of dirt and stone were taken out. Each cubic yard weighed about 3600 pounds. Since this was taken out millions of tons have slid into the Canal. To clear the channel after one large slide, and to protect the Canal from other slides, 10,000,000 cubic yards of material were removed. Why is the Panama Canal valuable to us? Keystone ID: 21740 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.