The Yarlung Tsangpo Great Canyon is also called “the last secret world.” To help readers better know the place, illustrations have been provided for this book. The four main points of this book are as follows:
The discovery process
The Yarlung Tsangpo Great Canyon remained unknown to the public until 1994, when I discovered in materials on the subject that the Yarlung Tsangpo Great Canyon quite possibly was the grandest canyon in the world. I immediately informed Gao Dengyi and Yang Yichou, scientists with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, about my bold idea and asked them to cooperate with me in proving it. As a result, interested parties threw themselves into the work, finally proving that it is the grandest canyon in the world, and established its pre-eminent status. Since then the Yarlung Tsangpo has become known internationally and its fame has grown with every new day. This discovery was of great importance. It was claimed by academicians of the Chinese Academy of Sciences as one of the world’s most important international geographical discoveries of the late 20th century.
Why is southeastern Tibet including the Yarlung Tsangpo Great Canyon so evergreen and full of life? The reason is that when a warm and humid air mass is born in the Indian Ocean or Bay of Bengal, it is bound to move northward under the influence of the southeast monsoon. When it meets the barrier of the high Himalayas, the north-south Yarlung Tsangpo Great Canyon becomes a passage for the northward-moving air-mass, just like a tunnel. The enormous quantity of vapour that goes north not only brings copious rainfall and a warm climate but also gives life to all beings.
Apart from a great number of animals and micro-organisms, there are over 3,700 kinds of plants in the Yarlung Tsangpo Great Canyon. In the canyon there are green and luxuriant forests everywhere, cut through with clear, clean waters. In Bomi there are the tallest forests in the world; at Yi’ong below the snow-capped mountains there are high-altitude tea plantations; at Zachu there are big wild plantains; and azaleas adorn all the hillsides at Pai. In fact, the Yarlung Tsangpo Great Canyon is a world-class three-dimensional botanic garden. The 7,787-meter high Namjag Barwa is a case in point, supporting a diversity of plant life ranging from tropical plants to arctic.
Frequent natural disasters
Owing to the collision of the Indian and Euro-Asian continental plates, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau became the highest and the youngest plateau on earth. For this reason the Yarlung Tsangpo Great Canyon, with its precipitous slopes, lofty snow-capped peaks, and rushing rivers, is a concentration of high mountain grandeur and majesty. However, geological instability generates frequent mud-stone flows, avalanches, landslides, and earthquakes. In a word, the combination of beautiful scenery and natural catastrophe in the Yarlung Tsangpo Great Canyon is determined by its special geological history.
From my personal explorations in the canyon and from associated reading I think those four points are the key issues; a good understanding of them is the key to this door of mystery.
The Yarlung Tsangpo Great Canyon - the world’s biggest canyon - belongs to China and to the world. Over the past few years, all those with an interest in the natural world have turned their attention or their feet in that direction. This book, with more than 50,000 words of text and 100-odd illustrations, tries to present to its readers a complete picture of the mysterious Yarlung Tsangpo Great Canyon. I, the author, have done my best for this book, and I respectfully invite readers to point out any errors.