The aptly named ‘Tsunami Pool‘ inside the Yulong Shuiyun Water Amusement Park in Longjing, China was packed the day it malfunctioned.
44 people were severely injured in the accidental “mini-tsunami” created by a power failure.
The pool holds 2 million gallons of water. The wave itself was over 100,000 gallons of water!
How do Wave Pools work? (from Howstuffworks)
In a pump room below the pool, a high-speed fan blows air into a wide metal pipe, which leads to an exhaust port at the base of the volcano. In the middle of this pipe, there is a butterfly valve, a wide disc with a swiveling metal axis rod.
When the rod is swiveled one way, the disc rests horizontally in the pipe, blocking the air flow. When the rod is swiveled the other way, the disc moves to a vertical position so the air can pass.
A hydraulic piston swivels the rod back and forth at regular intervals, allowing short bursts of pressurized air to flow up to the exhaust port. These air blasts blow on the water at the base of the volcano, generating the flowing ripples.
The wave pool has five basic parts:
• A water-pumping system
• A water-collection reservoir
• A series of release valves at the bottom of the reservoir
• A giant, slanted swimming pool
• A return canal, leading from the beach area to the pumping system
The wave generator uses a 100-horsepower pump, a 200-horsepower pump and a 300-horsepower pump. Each pump has a motor at the top, which spins a long drive shaft. The drive shaft extends down through a pipe, to a propeller positioned 13 feet (4 m) underwater. When the drive shaft spins, it rotates the propeller, which drives water upward through the pipe (in the same way a spinning fan drives air forward).
At the base level of the pump, the pipe curves, runs horizontal for 6 feet (1.8 m), then curves up and rises another 10 feet (3 m) before finally opening into the water reservoir. In all, the pumps move the water 29 feet (9 m)! At their standard speed, the pumps drive about 40,000 gallons (150,000 L) of water per minute.
The water reservoir is broken up into eight connected chambers, each with its own release valve.
The release valve has three major elements:
• The valve seat – The opening that leads down to the pool
• The valve plate – A wide piece of metal that fits snugly on top of the valve seat
• Metal struts that pivot on a stationary steel beam attached to the reservoir walls on one end and to the valve plate on the other end
• The hydraulic-cylinder piston, which is attached to a metal beam running between the two struts
Since the metal struts pivot freely on the stationary steel beam, you can swing the valve plate back and forth. The plate is fairly heavy, so it naturally will swing over the valve seat. This plugs up the reservoir so water can’t escape. (A rubber gasket around the valve seat keeps the valve from leaking too much.)