Despite the discovery of several faults in the Pearl River Delta's offshore sea bed, more details will be needed before geologists can determine what impact they might have.
A leading official with the Guangzhou Marine Geological Survey, who is in charge of the on-going special investigation by the Ministry of Land and Resources on the marine geological environment of the delta, said yesterday the final research results are expected in August.
The project, in South China's Guangdong Province, will assist future feasibility studies for major marine engineering projects, such as a giant bridge spanning the sea in Humen and a tunnel connecting the coastal cities of Zhongshan and Shenzhen to the east.
"The latest report from our field investigation team shows that more faults exist in the area, in addition to the one in the southern part of the area that we had known about in late April, not long after we embarked upon the project," investigation leader Zheng Shichang said yesterday.
The announcement of the first fault has already drawn much concern from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, as it may be a precursor to major geological changes.
"For an economically prosperous area with such a high population density like the Pearl River Delta, geological disasters will cause heavy costs. Therefore, precautions are essential," Zheng said.
"Especially as some geological disasters can be avoided by correcting improper human activities."
As an example, Zheng cited another major discovery during the project - the large areas of shoal around the mouths of rivers running into the sea at the delta, which is expanding.
"The shoal has not only obstructed shipping, but affected local water circulation to certain degrees, resulting in the inundation of some coastal roads in the wet season," he said.
Since the problem can be attributed to the construction of dikes by local governments to reclaim land, which was carried out without careful consideration of the area's hydro-power conditions, Zheng said they will urge the related authorities to rethink their plans.
Also, the investigation team has detected a number of large pitches in the offshore sea bed, the result of illegal dredging.
(China Daily June 13, 2003)