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Three Gorges Project Not Trigger for Jiangxi Quake

Chinese experts lashed out Friday at a report claiming that the Three Gorges Project triggered last weekend's earthquake in east China's Jiangxi Province, calling it "sheer speculation without any scientific foundation."


"Scientific studies show that the Three Gorges Project didn't trigger the earthquake in Jiujiang City of Jiangxi Province," Dr. Qin Xiaojun, a seismologist and spokesman for the Hubei Provincial Seismological Bureau currently in Jiujiang for disaster appraisal, told Xinhua.


An earthquake measuring 5.7 on the Richter scale hit the area between Jiujiang and Ruichang in Jiangxi at around 8:49 AM last Saturday, killing 13 people and destroying many houses in Jiujian gas well as in the eastern parts of adjacent Hubei Province.


After the quake, rumors spread both at home and abroad that the quake was triggered by the Three Gorges Project.


However, Hubei's Yichang City, the site of the Three Gorges Project, almost did not feel the quake, experts said.


"The geological formation and background between Jiujiang and the Three Gorges Project site are very different," Chen Deji, who is in charge of the geological prospecting for the Three Gorges Project, told Xinhua.


"The two sites are located in two completely different quake belts, and Jiujiang has been an epicenter before," he said.


In 1911, a 5-magnitude earthquake rocked the Jiujiang area.


The Three Gorges Project is 450 km away from the epicenter of this quake and separated by another two geological formation units, according to Chen.


"The Three Gorges Project has no direct links with the geological plate of the Jiuajing area," he said.


Gan Jiasi, director of the Monitoring and Forecast Center with the Hubei Provincial Seismological Bureau, said the Jiujiang earthquake was purely caused by the formation of the Earth.


"The quake movements in the Jiujiang area will soon diminish," he said.


Launched in 1993, the Three Gorges Project, including a 185-meter-high dam and 26 generators on both banks of the Yangtze, is being built in three phases on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, China's longest.


China has set up a complete and advanced forecast network for earthquake around the area of the reservoir for the Three Gorges Project.


"So far, the operation of the reservoir in the Three Gorges Project has been very stable," Gan said.


(Xinhua News Agency December 3, 2005)

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