China's massive Three Gorges Dam is 600 feet tall and home to what is probably the world's largest elevator. The impressive feat of engineering can lift up to 6.7 million pounds, although it generally does not lift more than 3000 deadweight tons at a time.

As seen in the video below (spotted by Gizmodo), large ships enter the loading dock filled with water, and then the lift carries them to the top or back down in about 40 minutes. It's estimated that the lift will get an extra 6 million tons of goods through the dam each year.

While dams are useful for controlling the flow of water and generating power, drastically changing the water heights on each side of the dam can make getting ships across a challenge. Most dams have adopted a lock system that can slowly get ships across by locking the boats in chambers and adding or removing water.

Three Gorges Dam also has a lock system in place, but that system has two series of ship locks that consist of five stages each, which can take a while. The long process takes about four hours, which is a lot longer than a (relatively) quick trip in an elevator.

[h/t Gizmodo]

Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at tips@mentalfloss.com.