Video captures massive rock collapse at Lake Powell

GLEN CANYON NATIONAL RECREATION AREA, Utah — A huge section of rock collapsed and fell into Lake Powell on Memorial Day, leaving some boaters with an experience they won’t soon forget.

Mila Carter, who captured the dramatic video, said the collapse happened near the entrance to Warm Creek around noon on Monday.

The collapse sent plumes of dust, debris and water into the air as Carter’s boat passed by.

“As if the channel wasn’t rough enough, throw in a rockslide. Hold on to your shorts!” she said in her facebook post.

Steve Carter captured some photos of the event and the newly transformed rockface.

Earlier this month, the Bureau of Reclamation announced it will release of 500,000 acre-feet from Flaming Gorge Reservoir downstream to Lake Powell and reduce water releases from Lake Powell by 480,000 acre-feet to protect the electricity generation mission of the Glen Canyon Dam over the next year.

It’s the first time the bureau has used its authority to change annual operations at Glen Canyon Dam.

Lake Powell’s water surface elevation was 3,522 feet on May 3 — its lowest level since originally being filled in the 1960s.

If the lake drops to 3,490 feet, Glen Canyon Dam won’t be able to generate hydropower.

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If power production ceases at Glen Canyon Dam, customers that include cities, rural electric cooperatives and tribal utilities would be forced to seek more expensive options. The loss also would complicate western grid operations since hydropower is a relatively flexible renewable energy source that can be easily turned up or down, experts told the Associated Press.

“We’re in crisis management, and health and human safety issues, including production of hydropower, are taking precedence,” said Jack Schmidt, director of the center for Colorado River Studies at Utah State University. “Concepts like, ‘Are we going to get our water back’ just may not even be relevant anymore.”

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