Hoover Dam Geodetic Survey Markers – Boulder City, Nevada - Atlas Obscura

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Hoover Dam Geodetic Survey Markers

These markers are used to document elevation changes around the famed dam.  


The Hoover Dam is one of America’s greatest feats of civil engineering, capable of holding back a staggering 10 trillion gallons of water. Of course, a project of this kind had to be made with precision, and even after its completion, that preciseness must be maintained. 

This job is done during a geodetic survey where the exact location and elevation of certain points on and around the dam are measured. These locations are then marked with benchmarks to allow future surveyors to see how things changed over time. 

The area around the Hoover Dam is surveyed every few decades where all markers are re-measured, and new ones are added where needed. This is how it was discovered that the dam subsided by just under five inches between 1935 and 1964. (Don’t worry this was within the predicted values.) 

Know Before You Go

You can find many markers on the dam dating back all the way to 1935, with the newest, from the early 2000s, located near the visitors center.

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June 1, 2022

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