Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Quake Lakes in China

Last month’s big earthquake in China caused a number of large landslides that created dams in the region’s many rivers. The largest of these lakes is at Tangjiashan and has been in danger of catastrophic failure for some time. The Chinese military mobilized a large work crew to excavate a spillway in an attempt to avert a catastrophic failure.

Dave’s Landslide Blog has covered in all the detail available to the West the efforts of the Chinese to stop this disaster and the status of the lake. Last night critical reservoir elevations were reached and flow in the hastily constructed spillway began to increase exponentially as the spillway began to erode. However, the resulting discharge has not been as large as it could and the disaster of a catastrophic failure appears to have been averted and thousands if not hundreds of thousands of lives at risk have been saved. This article indicates that one of the ways the Chinese chose to avert this disaster is was to channel the flood waters through an abandoned town that was completely destroyed by the quake. It's a hard choice to make, but hard choice need to be made when lives are at stake. Anyway, it’s an interesting story to follow.

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