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Does it count as architecture if it's built by beavers?
by Katy Purviance on 08/07/10 @ 07:01:45 pm
Categories: News | 300 words | 1759 views

In northern Alberta a giant rampaging beaver has devastated local communities. While the local military has made several attempts to no avail, local communities are at a standstill as its giant pancake style tail flattens buildings and maims children….

That is what this article should have began like. However, both disappointing and fascinating at the same time is a giant beaver dam that can be seen from space. While tracking permafrost in Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Alberta, researcher Jean Thie stumbled upon the massive beaver dam. Originally found in 2007 using satellites and google Earth the beaver dam was discovered 190km north of Fort McMurray in Alberta.

Working since the 1970s these creatures don’t disappoint their “busy beaver” moniker having several generations hard at work constructing the 850m structure (2800 feet). Normally these dams reach roughly 10 - 100m and rarely do they ever get bigger.

“Several generations of beavers worked on it and it’s still growing,” Jean told AFP in Ottawa.

According to the actual search strategy was based on analysing hundreds of dams across Canada and using broad characteristics, certain areas were considered having the highest probability of high density beaver dam landscapes. Using Canada’s national Air Photo Library in Ottawa and Google Earth images the new dam was found and would have remained hidden without such technology.

Beavers were hunted extensively for their pelts for many centuries throughout north america. Thie also describes how they are not only repopulating areas but even “re-engineering the landscape,". Beavers use these dams to create deep water which allows the them to be more mobile and they are an essential part of creating Canada’s wetland habitat. With all the trees it took, I think we can rest with that whole “who ruined the environment” search we’ve all been on.


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