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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A contour canal is an artificially-dug navigable canal which closely follows the contour line of the land it traverses in order to avoid costly engineering works such as boring a tunnel through higher ground, building an embankment over lower ground, or constructing a canal lock (or series of locks) to change the level of the canal.

The oldest contour canal in the world is located in China, built under the supervision of the engineer Shi Lu (fl. late 3rd century BC) of the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BC).[1] It was termed the 'Lingqu', or 'Magic Canal', and had thirty-six canal lock gates.[1] Linking the Xiang and Li rivers, the canal was used to transport the emperor's barges and transport ships through a mountain range.[1]

In the United Kingdom, many of the canals built in the period from 1770 to 1800 were contour canals - for example, the Oxford Canal. These canals are characterised by their meandering course. Later canals built from about 1810 onwards were much straighter and more direct - a good example is the Shropshire Union Canal engineered by Thomas Telford.

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Day & Mcneil (1996), 636.

References

  • Day, Lance and Ian McNeil. (1996). Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0415060427.

See also

Canals of the United Kingdom


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