Sunday, August 29, 2010

Volgograd: the new Tacoma Narrows

If you're not signed up for Arbor Scientific's CoolStuff newsletter, you might have missed this.

The newly-opened Volgograd Bridge in southern Russia is experiencing a "resonance malfunction."

This is 70 years after the original Tacoma Narrows Bridge fell. Like Obi-Wan Kenobi, though, the demise of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge made it more powerful than anyone could have possibly imagined. Its oscillations of doom revolutionized bridge design and made it the most famous bridge in physics lore.

Russian authorities closed the bridge amid the resonant rippling, but reopened it days later following a safety inspection.

Still though, if you feel you were cheated by time out of a thrill ride on "Galloping Gertie," you might want to book travel to Russia. And you might want to do it soon. The original Tacoma Narrows Bridge carried traffic for four months.

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