Monday, April 13, 2015

Panama Canal: Gatun Locks

Gatun Locks
Panama Canal

North (Caribbean) Entrance
N 09° 16.372 W 079° 55.348

Short Description: 

The Gatun Locks are the northernmost set of locks on the Panama Canal. They are located six miles (10 km) south of the city of Colon, Panama.

Looking North
Long Description:

The Panama Canal was constructed between 1881 and 1914. There are three sets of locks, two lakes and one long rock cut along the Panama Canal. Each has historic name of the area in which they are built. The Gatun Locks are the northernmost set of locks and the first you encounter as you travel southeast from the Atlantic Ocean side to the Pacific Ocean side of the Panama Canal. They are located 6 miles south of the entrance to the canal and lift and lower ships 29.5 meters to and from Gatun Lake. All the locks present locks on the Panama Canal are operated by gravity. In the case of the Gatun Locks, fresh water from Gatun Lake flows into the upper chambers and progressively flows downhill into the Atlantic Ocean. Thus, the entire system relies upon rainfall for its operation.

South (Gatun Lake) Exit
The Gatun locks are the largest of the locks on the Panama Canal. They consist of two parallel sets of locks each having three chambers. Each lock is 300 meters long. The walls are 15 meters thick at the base and taper to 3 meters thick at the top. Between the locks is a 18 meter wide by 24 meter high central wall. The steel lock gates average 2 meters thick, 1905 meters in length and are 20 meters high. central at the top. The central wall between the parallel locks at Gatun has a thickness of 18 meters and stands in excess of 24 meters in height. The lock gates are made from steel and measures an average of 2 meters thick, 19.5 meters in length and stand 20 meters in height. In order to construct the Gatun Locks 1,820,000 cubic meters of concrete were poured.

The stamp was issued for the Canal Zone by the United States in 1939 as part of a set of 16 stamps to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. It shows the north (Atlantic) entrance to the Gatun Locks as they appeared in 1939.

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