Questions

1. 

Read the Fast Facts first!

The Golden Gate Bridge connects two landmasses: the San Francisco Peninsula and the Marin Headlands. What landmass is this worker looking at?

Show Answer

He's looking at the Marin Headlands. The Marin Headlands are a natural landscape. The San Francisco Peninsula is a big city, with skyscrapers, buildings, and roads.

2. 

The Golden Gate Bridge is painted "International Orange." This bright color is a good choice, because it helps ships see the bridge, even in bad weather. What colors would be bad choices for the bridge?

Show Answer

Grey, white, or black would blend in to the fog or bad weather. Dark blues and greens would blend into the landscape of the San Francisco Bay.

3. 

How long did it take for painters to remove the lead-based paint on the Golden Gate Bridge and replace it with zinc-based paint?

Show Answer

30 years. The project began in 1965 and was completed in 1995.

4. 

The salty air of the San Francisco Bay often damages paint on the Golden Gate Bridge. Why do you think there is so much salt in the air?

Show Answer

The Golden Gate Bridge spans a strait on the Pacific Ocean. Like all oceans, the Pacific is a salty body of water. The fog and clouds that form around the Golden Gate are full of salt from the ocean.

5. 

This painter is working on top of the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. What is his elevation?

Show Answer

227 meters (745 feet). This was calculated by adding the elevation of the roadway (75 meters or 246 feet) and the additional height of the towers (152 meters or 500 feet).

Fast Facts

  • The Golden Gate is the narrow strait that connects the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. The open "gate" is formed by the Marin Headlands to the north and the San Francisco Peninsula to the south. The Marin Headlands are largely undeveloped land, while the San Francisco Peninsula is home to one of the most densely populated cities in California.
  • The Golden Gate Bridge was completed in 1937. Ever since then, the color of the bridge has been "International Orange." It was colored this vibrant shade to help passing ships see it through the thick fog of the region.
  • The original "International Orange" contained a high amount of lead, which can be toxic. A program to remove the original paint was begun in 1965 and completed in 1995. The newer paint is zinc-based.
  • The high salt content of the air above the Golden Gate corrodes, or damages, the paint on the Golden Gate Bridge. Today, more than 30 painters are required to constantly touch-up the corroded surface of the bridge.
  • Golden Gate Bridge painters cannot be acrophobic (afraid of heights)! The bridge carries six lanes of traffic about 75 meters (246 feet) above the Golden Gate. The bridge's two towers rise another 152 meters (500 feet) above that.

Vocabulary

Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry

bay

Noun

body of water partially surrounded by land, usually with a wide mouth to a larger body of water.

Encyclopedic Entry: bay

corrosion

Noun

process of chemicals breaking down or wearing away a material.

dense

Adjective

having parts or molecules that are packed closely together.

fog

Noun

clouds at ground level.

Encyclopedic Entry: fog

Golden Gate Bridge

Noun

(1937) suspension bridge connecting the strait between the San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

headland

Noun

point of land, usually a steep cliff, that descends into a body of water.

lead

Noun

chemical element with the symbol Pb.

peninsula

Noun

piece of land jutting into a body of water.

Encyclopedic Entry: peninsula

salt

Noun

mineral often used as a preservative or flavoring.

strait

Noun

narrow passage of water that connects two larger bodies of water.

Encyclopedic Entry: strait

toxic

Adjective

poisonous.

vibrant

Adjective

lively.

zinc

Noun

chemical element with the symbol Zn.

Credits

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Photographer

David Boyer

Producer

Caryl-Sue, National Geographic Society

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