An airscape of the quake lakes formed after the massive May 12 earthquake in Beichuan County, southwest China's Sichuan Province. According to a preliminary analysis, a total of 34 quake lakes have been found in Sichuan, eight of which contain more than 300 million cubic meters of water each.
A group of armed policemen arrived on foot at the Tangjiashan quake lake in southwest China's Sichuan Province around 00:35 AM Monday and immediately began work to defuse the danger of a major flooding.
The policemen were among about 1,800 armed police officers and People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers who started hiking on Sunday toward the expanding quake lake, which is 3.2 km upstream from the Beichuan County seat, from which thousands of survivors have been evacuated since Wednesday.
An officer with the PLA told Xinhua on Sunday that the soldiers each carried 10 kilograms of dynamite and planned to blast away its landslide barrier.
Its barrier is in danger of bursting as the water level rose by nearly 2 meters on Saturday to 723 meters, only 29 meters below the lowest part of the barrier, which measured 752 meters high.
The risks were only heightened as high winds and thunderstorms were forecasted for the area on Sunday and Monday and the area was hit by a strong aftershock measuring 6.4 magnitude on the Richter scale on Sunday.
The lake is now holding more than 128 million cubic meters of water and may cause a devastating flooding if the barrier burst.
(Xinhua News Agency May 26, 2008)