Currents in an Interoceanic Canal

by Edwin W. Eden, Jr.,

Serial Information: Journal of the Hydraulics Division, 1969, Vol. 95, Issue 1, Pg. 79-102

Document Type: Journal Paper


The feasibility of a sea-level canal between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans is under consideration by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as the agent for a five-man Interoceanic Canal Commission appointed by President Johnson. This paper describes the tidal and hydrologic studies made for the feasibility study. The study estimates tidal currents and evaluates their impact on the canal and the potential shipping. Considerable variation in character and range of tides is experienced. Currents in a sea-level canal were based on a mathematical model utilizing an explicit finite difference method. The current varies with tidal range and phasing and canal characteristics; cross-sectional width and depth, length, and roughness. Currents caused by the flow of fresh water during flood times are also considered. A method of reducing tidal currents is described.

Subject Headings: Tides | Feasibility studies | Canals | Sea level | Federal government | Hydrologic models | Freight transportation | Hydraulic models | Pacific Ocean

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