(Yicai Global) Aug. 11 -- Tourism may become the biggest casualty of the 6.5 magnitude earthquake, which struck Sichuan province in UNESCO listed area of great natural beauty.
Several Jiuzhaigou Park’s scenic spots suffered damage, including the Sparkling Lake and the cliff that once supported the Nuorilang waterfall collapsed into tons of sludge and mud. The natural barriers of Reed Lake and Double Dragon have been deluged by water and destroyed.
Mirror Lake was filled in by an avalanche of falling debris and rocks and Five Flower Lake is now inaccessible. Whether these damages should be restored by man or whether they can be fully restored is uncertain.
Geologists indicated, since the geographic changes caused by the earthquake are natural phenomena they may even create some new scenic spots, it is unnecessary for any human intervention.
“It is necessary to make appropriate and limited restoration after the earthquake disaster”, Zhou Yongsheng, a researcher from the China Earthquake Administration’s Institute of Geology told Beijing Youth Daily.
The damages to Sparkling Lake includes a distinct muddying of its waters and the collapse of the dam body created by the slow sedimentation of calcium carbonate in waters. Therefore, the dam body would be restored naturally, by constant torrents of water, though the process may take several years.
The body of the dam may also be repaired by man, if the disaster zone is going through a planned restoration phase in future. In the case of the NuoriLang waterfall, if the collapsed rocks are removed manually, and as the torrent increases from upper streams, the waterfall may restore naturally. Alternatively, if the rocks from the collapse were washed away by the natural flow of water, a new waterfall would be formed. However, it could be a long process, depending on water flow from the upper streams.
In any event, it is impossible to restore the waterfall to be as it once was.
“The earthquake was a key factor in the formation of new landscapes and no human intervention was required. The ravine was blocked after the mountain was severely impacted by geological disasters such as earthquakes, avalanches and mudslides.” said Tang Xiaochun, director of School of Geography and Tourism of Guangdong University of Finance & Economics.
“It is a normal geographic evolution of this earthquake devastating and reshaping the former landscape.”