Terraforming of the Corinth Canal

KorbenDallas

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The Corinth Canal connects the Gulf of Corinth with the Saronic Gulf in the Aegean Sea. It cuts through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth and separates the Peloponnese from the Greek mainland, arguably making the peninsula an island. The canal was dug through the Isthmus at sea level and has no locks. It is 6.4 kilometres (4 mi) in length and only 21.4 metres (70 ft) wide at its base, making it impassable for most modern ships. Nowadays it has little economic importance and is mainly a tourist attraction.

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  • The canal was initially proposed in classical times and a failed effort was made to build it in the 1st century AD. Construction started in 1881 but was hampered by geological and financial problems that bankrupted the original builders. It was completed in 1893 but, due to the canal's narrowness, navigational problems and periodic closures to repair landslides from its steep walls, it failed to attract the level of traffic expected by its operators.
  • Corinth Canal - Wikipedia
I don’t know what those living in the 1st century AD thought about their construction capabilities, just like I don’t know where information like this comes from.

If we consider that Pliny the Elder died during the Pompeii event in 79 AD aka 1631 AD, things could become a bit more doable. Not by much though.
  • LOL: The emperor Nero was the first to attempt to construct the canal, personally breaking the ground with a pickaxe and removing the first basket-load of soil in 67 AD, but the project was abandoned when he died shortly afterwards.
As it stands this canal was made between 1881 and 1893.
  • Do we have any construction photographs? We do, but was the canal being built, or simply getting cleared in those photographs?
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what’s this?...
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On the Remains of Nero’s Corinth Canal Project

After completion...

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KD: But the above stuff is not the reason for this thread. The image below is.

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While we are lead to believe that this terraforming is natural, these vertical lines separating different colors of the rock... is this really natural? Could nature work in such mysterious ways, or... could we be looking at an example of some artificial landscaping?
 
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KorbenDallas

KorbenDallas

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I think this picture can only suggest that they did some digging. Are there any pictures of half of this canal having been done?

Regardless of whether this machine is capabilitie of cutting through the rock, or simply of scooping out dirt from the preexisting canal, it says nothing about the terraforming method of the entire surface.

Sorry for this bulky sentence.
 

jd755

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A slight aside.
From here; April 26, 1941: Operation Hannibal
A photo taken by the Luftwaffe in 1941 (beats google earth for clarity but is google earth just cgi) of the dead straight canal showing its location in the landscape. Superb surveying and cutting suggests once again 'back then' our skills and knowhow was vastly superior to today.
Hitler_26_April_1941_worldwartwo.filminspector.com_9.jpg
I think this picture can only suggest that they did some digging. Are there any pictures of half of this canal having been done?

Regardless of whether this machine is capabilitie of cutting through the rock, or simply of scooping out dirt from the preexisting canal, it says nothing about the terraforming method of the entire surface.

Sorry for this bulky sentence.
I only posted the dredger pic as its in one of the ones you already posted. The canal is cut from limestone, which is relatively soft so easy to cut and the lining of the water carrying part of the canal i being lined with cut stone which suggests the limestone walls are porous. The hard part to figure out, for me, is to accept that some engineering feats we see were carried out by people and machines as the photographs show yet at the same time acknowledge not all of them appear to have been. Deciding which is which on the balance of probabilities given the fact we are being constantly lied to, from birth it seems, is the tricky bit. Wheat from chaff time.
 
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KorbenDallas

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Spent a few minutes looking for any construction progression photographs. No luck so far. For something which took 12 years to build this lack of photographs is hard to explain.

I do think that this image below could be showing that they are removing dirt, and not limestone from the preexisting canal.

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And in this photograph. What are they doing? What earthwork? There should have been nothing but limestone there.
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jd755

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I feel the photographs are simply not digitised for whatever reason. They sit in archives and private collections.
I did like your financial angle so followed it up but sadly could only come across what I feel is a detailed pdf record of contemporary financial issues but at 57 pages long to much to google translate so picked a bit out as it was near the inauguration date and it mentioned gravel and google translated it

SCENES OF FINANCE by Don Caprice (Gil Blas, May 22, 1893) Hellenic bonds begin to fall on the sound of the proclamation of bankruptcy. A well-advised bullish observer observes that we are not on the eve of a coupon deadline and that, consequently, the Greeks have no interest in precipitating the events. That by the main deadlines, there may be money. Finally, that Mr Vlasto [Vlasto] is handling the case. On this name of V'lasto, we go back. Did not V'lasto lend 50,000 bullets to a minister? Did he not complete the construction of the Corinth Canal? How to doubt the financial capacities of V'lasto? I wonder! On it the Annuity goes back to 97,35, the Amortization goes to 97,40 and the 4 1/2 to 105,95. Hellenic funds see their prices improve slightly. Macaroni, himself - though V'lasto only occupies little and despite the news of the explosion of a ministerial crisis - the Macaroni back to 92.35. ------------ SCENES OF FINANCEpar Don Caprice (Gil Blas, 26 June 1893) M.Vlasto - no apostrophe - just make it a good one. He had announced the inauguration of the Corinth Canal for the month of June. But this damned canal plays the trick of not wanting to be inaugurated on the date fixed by M. Vlasto - without apostrophe. It is unclear why the Corinthian Isthmus is reluctant at the inauguration. Some say that huge blocks of hard rock have slipped and intercept the passage of water that Vlasto-Moses believed to be waving. Paaassez eaux !!! one, deusse? The others claim that the engineers have miscalculated their level: the water could not enter; the canal would be sloping. It may be a simple pun of bad taste. But it is certain that the directors will have to replace the inaugural dress with a jacket. If the water does not flow, shareholders and bondholders are sunk. Only the bankers should not care, because by stoutly proclaiming that it would be inaugurated in June, they could proceed with the disposal of their stocks of securities. One idea: if water persists in not wanting to enter the channel, why does M.Vlasto it would provide for the filling, a certain amount of bribes? ------------ SLIDES OF FINANCEby Don Caprice (Gil Blas, July 20, 1893)
A man very much annoyed at this moment is the illustrious M. Vlasto. We know that this financier has taken on the task of desensorceling the Corinth Canal. imagined or, at least, peddled, then "placed" by the famous General Türr. After a long turbulence, this general was able to put his channel into action and many capitalists committed the turpitude of subscribing. Since then, we have not stopped cheating them. I do not find what Türr did well, but I suspect he had jettatura, because his combinations never came to an end. It is true that if Türr can be suspected of jettatura, Mr. Vlasto is accused of having the evil eye. Since he holds in his hands the destiny of the shareholders and the bondholders of the Canal, it goes from bad to worse. When you think it's over, rock benches pop up: you take them off. Well! So we will be able to inaugurate the channel !? The date of the inauguration is fixed. The King of Greece must attend, as well as an English squadron. We take advantage of the opportunity to publish a dispatch putting the French government somehow in default to send battleships to give more brilliance to this inauguration. I'm not saying that it was hoped to provoke a small stock market movement for this naval demonstration, but there are so many bad languages! But, after the rocks, new hitch. A despatch from Athens announces to people who are amazed that the canal has the gravel! Yes, the gravel. The water refused to come in, then she decided: "Oh, that's it, we shout on the banks and in the offices of the Comptoir d'escompte. La Vlà c't'eau, yes there it is, but carrying sand! First retention, then gravel. The inauguration is still delayed. The shareholders and bondholders of Corinth play decidedly bad luck. In the beginning, it was the masonry crumbling, then it was the box, then the rock, finally the sand! We will have to change the name of the Corinth Canal and call it the Pas-de-Veine Canal !. Is not it Tuturr? Poor Epaminondas Vlastopapoulo, he fried it Türr!


Dogged by fears and worries it seems. This General Türr is a very interesting character tying the canal to the American civil war, Italian and Hungarion revolutions, Buonapartes, Garibaldi etc etc but not for this thread.

Seems it the German Army did it a bit of harm as did the sea as it silts up apparently. From here; Headquarters > About > History > Historical Vignettes > Military Construction Combat > 056 - New District

The Corinth Canal presented one of the greatest challenges. Only 7 kilometers (about 4 miles) in length, the canal could save shippers about 200 kilometers on the trip from eastern to western Greece. Retreating Germans rendered severe damage. Explosions triggered at two points dumped 645,000 cubic meters of earth and rock into the canal. Other debris included a duplex highway-railway bridge, 130 railroad boxcars, six locomotives, mines, and the 3,400-ton steamship Vesta, which had been wrecked and sunk in the canal. Lack of maintenance had affected the entrance breakwaters, and the channel was heavily silted.


The dredge Poseidon (right center) at work clearing the Corinth Canal, 1948

Work to repair the canal began in October 1947. The silt and debris removal effort required special equipment and had to be timed to support the overall excavation schedule. Steers-Grove, one of the two joint ventures, used dredges, floating derricks, tugs, and dump scows in the cleanup effort.

From here; THE CORINTH CANAL BECOMES 120 YEARS OLD | Balkon 3
Would love to see a high res version of this one.
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From here; You are being redirected...

After its opening, the Corinth Canal failed to attract the expected ship traffic for multiple reasons:
  • The canal is tough to navigate because it’s narrow, with frequent high winds and strong currents.
    The canal’s high rock walls were subject to landslides; the canal was closed multiple times between 1893 and 1940 for work to stabilize its walls.
Seems the thing we see today has been stabilised. My guess would be with rock anchors and concrete but that is really a guess based on what they do locally, and we are not looking at the original cut face in the modern photographs.

This from last year!
Famously Skinny Corinth Canal Shut Due to Rockfall – gCaptain

ATHENS, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Greece on Monday closed the Corinth canal after a rockfall that followed heavy rain, temporarily blocking a transit route used mainly by commercial ships and pleasure yachts.

The 6.4-km canal serves about 11,000 ships a year, offering a short transit from southern Italy to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea, saving mariners a 700-km (434-mile) journey around the Peloponnese Peninsula. But its 21.5-metre (64-foot) width means it is not a key waterway for ocean-going vessels.

Local station Korinthos TV showed chunks of rock which had peeled off the canal’s steep walls and fallen into the waterway.

“The coastguard was notified today, went to the spot and after seeing the landslide, banned ships from sailing,” a Greek coastguard official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

The canal’s operator will need about 15 days to restore it, the official said.


From here; Collapse at the Corinth Canal
Would 'the ancients' or terraformers have been unaware of the nature of the rocks erosion?
I suppose the same could be asked of the promoters and supporters of the canal but never let common sense get in the way of commerce.

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EDIT to add.
That bank page appears to be a machine translation, worth bearing in mind when reading its efforts in regards to the word earthwork.

Using startpage with the search string Διώρυγα της Κορίνθου (Greek for Corinth Canal) with the image search set to black and white.
From here; Διώρυγα – Corinth Canal SUP Crossing 2019
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From here; Google Translate
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From here; Αυτήν την εικόνα είχε το μεγαλύτερο τεχνικό έργο της Ελλάδας πριν ολοκληρωθεί. Οι προσπάθειες για τον σχεδιασμό και την ολοκλήρωση του Ισθμού κράτησαν συνολικά 2.300 χρόνια! - ΜΗΧΑΝΗ ΤΟΥ ΧΡΟΝΟΥ
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No date for the above image.

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Isthmus 1882. The project was designed by Hungarian V. Gerfer, chief engineer of the Franciscan Canal in Hungary, and controlled by Daujats engineer, chief engineer of the Suez Canal.

From here; Σπάνιο φωτογραφικό υλικό από τη διώρυγα της Κορίνθου
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From here; Διώρυγα Κορίνθου: 9 ιστορικές-συλλεκτικές φωτογραφίες από την εποχή της διάνοιξης!
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From here;
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jd755

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What is this v shaped hole already at the bottom?
And why is this canal a different size and shape in every image? :unsure:
I'm not with you on the different shape issue. They are digging down through rock and gravel as far as I can see so the shape of the thing will change as they get deeper to keep the stability going. Not only that its fourteen oops 4 miles long so it's not beyond imagination to realise the photographers position cannot be consistent.
The hole as you call it seems to be a propped shaft as evidenced by the wooden lintel clearly visible in the photograph. The easiest and most effective way to loosen tons of rock is to blast it from underneath. They mined their way in to set their charge, at least to me that is what they did, and that lintel over the shaft is the only visual clue I've seen that this is what they did.

As for it being pre-existing and simply being dug out would it really take 11 or 12 years with steam power (there isn't a horse and cart anywhere to be seen which is why I have come to feel those photos of the same vintage of American engineering and construction [expositions especially] are but a 'chosen' selection of images that have been digitised) to shift backfill?
I cannot see it myself but there it is. The tales of yore before the first cut was made on the isthmus emperors with golden spades etc are simply the twaddle or padding that is added in to disguise the real event and make it appear 'unreal'.
As far as I can see based on all of the photographs above this particular canal is man made and man made in the late 1800's. The only weirdness is the absence of scanned photographs of the inaugural celebrations. All we get is that painting of steam ships and a couple of engravings.
As I said on another thread wheat from chaff time!
 
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KorbenDallas

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Here is what a solid limestone excavation looks like. I do not see anything resembling those smaller limestone rocks in the construction images. AlI see is them removing dirt.


But we drifted away from the main OP question. What kind of natural terraforming could produce the below non-sense?

corinth.jpg
 

jd755

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Here is what a solid limestone excavation looks like. I do not see anything resembling those smaller limestone rocks in the construction images. AlI see is them removing dirt.


But we drifted away from the main OP question. What kind of natural terraforming could produce the below non-sense?

I know of no process. Your red arrowed area look to me like concrete has been in effect rendered over the crumbly limestone.
 
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KorbenDallas

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Your red arrowed area look to me like concrete has been in effect rendered over the crumbly limestone.
I wish we could get a decent view of them walls. It looks like the entire length of the canal is affected. If it was done by us, something like this concrete job would have to be in the records. And the scale of this thing... what could they use for forming?

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KorbenDallas

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Funny how they did this thing in the 19th century, but today we can see no eagerness to widen the canal. Pretty sure many plausible explanations can be had:
  • Although the Corinth Canal saves traveler 700 kilometers (430 mile) by cutting through the narrow Isthmus of Corinth, it is too narrow for modern ocean freighters and is now used mainly for tourist traffic.
And what story has no little mystery attached to it?
  • Three Roman rulers considered the idea but all suffered violent deaths. The Roman dictator Julius Caesar considered digging a canal through the isthmus but was assassinated before he could commence the project. Next, Caligula had interest in the idea but got no further as he too was assassinated. Finally emperor Nero was the first to actually attempt to construct the canal, personally breaking the ground with a pickaxe in 67 CE, but the project was abandoned when he died shortly afterwards.
  • The Curse of the Corinth Canal
 

Cemen

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And again, people with shovels and picks, excavators, excavators, loose soil, stone fragments. And there is not even a hint of work on sawing rocks. They just dig, and at the same time get even walls. And not only that they are even, but also aligned at a certain angle for several kilometers.
 

jd755

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The high walls are only the most often photographed as they are the most photogenic, oh and the bridges go over the high part providing excellent photo opportunities.
Have another look back through the pictures you'll see steam power in use. Not sure why or how a saw could be used to cut or angle the walls.

Here's a picture of a part not often photographed it seems showing a different view to the 'perfection' we get shown in countless ship passage photos.
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Blimey its shut every Tuesday for essential repairs!
From here; Travelling through the Corinth Canal during a Gale Force 8
Apparently, the canal is open 24 hours a day every day accept Tuesday. On Tuesdays necessary repairs are made to the canal.
One can see why, oh and bricks as mentioned above somewhere.
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asatiger1966

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Looks like they are scraping out a pre-existing thing, doesn't it?
I will propose that they were digging out a subterranean tunnel , that they did not know how to use. Possible the previous owners had submarines , Captain Nemo "1954" could be understood if that were true.The maps below from the 1500's show the tunnels.

tunnels anchient.jpgathanasiikircher00kirc_4_0219.jpgathanasiikircher00kirc_4_0204.jpgathanasiikircher00kirc_4_0212.jpgathanasiikircher00kirc_4_0204.jpgathanasiikircher00kirc_4_0185.jpg

Even one at the Panama Canal. I noticed a lot of vortexes at the tunnel opening, maybe a way to help enter the tunnel?
 

Bear Claw

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Is it possible that there was no isthmus at one point, merely an island close to the mainland. Then for whatever reason, it was decided it would be preferable to connect the two. And the sea was filled in and turned to land. Perhaps explaining the strange rock faces cut through above. On the luftwaffe photo, the beaches at either side of the canal look quite 'straight' and not in line with the rest of the coast lines...
 
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