Minnesota Metrodome Caves In Under 17 Inches of Snow

Or was it mankind's pride that felled the gentle stadium?

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At about 5 a.m. Sunday morning, the roof of Minneapolis's Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome caved in under the weight of 17 inches of snow. The Metrodome has a roof of fiberglass fabric that's inflated from within by the stadium's air pressure, but a weekend blizzard proved too much for the dome: it sagged and tore, dumping an "astronomical" volume of snow all over the field. The roof collapse has postponed a Giants-Vikings game, which will be played in Detroit Monday night. Cleanup efforts are underway; in the meantime, the Internet has been busy marveling at footage of the cave-in from inside the stadium itself:

  • Here's How the Dome Works  "The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome opened in 1982," explains Chris Higgins at Mental Floss. "Its signature feature is its Teflon-coated fiberglass fabric roof that is literally inflated by the air inside the stadium. The stadium is pumped full of air to keep the roof up. This requires people to enter and exit the dome via airlocks, to maintain positive pressure within the playing field area." Higgins also notes that "this is the fifth time a 'deflation event' has happened. Wikipedia explains the other four."
  • Time to Change the Name, jokes Ernie Smith at ShortFormBlog. "The Metrodome isn't technically a dome anymore. It's a platter. The dome is dead. There is no dome. It's been lost in the snow."
  • No One Saw This Coming?  John Podhoretz at Commentary wonders. "The designers of the Minneapolis Metrodome didn't figure on the possibility that 17 inches of snow might fall in the Twin Cities and land on the stadium's dome?"
  • Awesome Video!  Andy Hutchins at SB Nation doesn't hold back. "This video of the Metrodome collapse from the inside is likely to go down in sports lore as one of the best videos ever of a stadium collapse ... This video is like watching the Hindenburg blow up in real time--then dump tons of snow onto a field where Brett Favre plays football. In a year with a lot of great moments, this may be the single most memorable thing to happen in the world of sports in 2010."
  • Man's Works Are as Dust in the Wind  Esquire's Chris Jones gets existential. "Watching a building coming down is more than a physical exercise; it's a spiritual one," he writes.
Even something like the Metrodome--considered outdated, a tenement to be fled--is a modern kind of miracle, with its Teflon-and-fiberglass roof held aloft by nothing more than circulated air and willpower. Someone dreamed that up, and then we built it. It's really an incredible thing. And yet here is the painful-seeming truth ... Nearly everything we build--nearly everything you saw on your way to work this morning, the roof that will be over your head when you go home tonight--will one day be gone.
  • O Humankind, Repent Your Prideful Ways!  Teddy Partridge at Firedoglake takes the opportunity to indict the entire species:
We little naked monkeys are so proud, so hubristic, so confident of our rightness: whether deciding to bake our planet beyond tolerance for life itself, or to make war on our fellow but less well-armed humans, or to power our homes with decaying nuclear material we can’t dispose of, or to build amusements stadia that cannot withstand naturally recurring weather phenomena. Bridges fall down, culverts wear out, roofs collapse. Banks fail. Medicine expires. Sometimes things don't even work correctly the first time, right out of the box!
  • Let's Stay Neighborly, Gopher Staters  The snow isn't just a problem for the Metrodome. An editorial in the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune expresses a wish that "the all-in-it-together spirit that kept us going over the weekend will linger ... If you know someone in your neighborhood who may need help dealing with the dangerous conditions expected to follow the weekend storm, take a minute and pick up a phone. You'll at least make a friend of a neighbor who needs groceries or a shoveled walk. In extreme cases, you may even save a life."
  • So Does This Mean We're Getting a New Stadium?  Inconclusive, said Lester Bagley, the Vikings' Vice President of Public Affairs, in a written statement on Sunday. "It is not appropriate to discuss the new stadium issue today," Bagley's statement read. "Those conversations will occur in due time."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.