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A frozen dam solved a big problem


On the east side of the Columbia River, several landslides had already occurred, burying equipment and threatening lives, slowing down the construction of Grand Coulee Dam. Reporters watched the 200,000-cubic-yard hillside for the next story, and in July 1936, the story broke that a solution had been found: the WMAK engineers planned on freezing the slide area.

They did it with a refrigeration plant, the largest ever used in construction at the time, which had the ability to make 80-100 tons of ice per day. By the end of August, six miles of 3-inch-diameter pipes had been sunk along the ba...

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