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Volcanic Museum Records Geological Changes
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Dubbed a "volcanic museum" in China, Jingpo Lake National Geopark in Mudanjiang, Heilongjiang Province, strives to offer a wide spectrum of geological artefacts.


Jingpo Lake National Geopark, approved by the Ministry of Land and Resources, was officially established in September 2005 and constructed according to world-class requirements for a geological park.


Geological relics


Situated at the medium latitude on the eastern side of the Asian continent, the geopark has abundant geo-heritage.


The geo-heritage in the park is mainly divided into the categories of volcano, lava flow, lava tunnel, volcanic debris and volcanic rocks. They are mainly scattered within an area of 211.65 square kilometres in the northern part of the park.


There are 16 craters in the park. Some of them are well preserved. The magnificent cone-shaped volcano has great geological significance. It is an ideal site for the study of the formation of volcanoes and the evolution of the earth.


The oozing lava has formed a 65-kilometre lava flow. It forms a lava flow micro-geomorphological structure including swollen hillocks, mounds, lava dams, stone pools, lava bubbles, lava caves, lava collapses and cracks and lava waves.


In the park, there are 10 collapsed lava tunnel pits. The layout of the lava tunnels follows the direction of the lava flow from northwest to southeast.


With an accumulated length of more than 20 kilometres, the lava tunnels ranges from several metres to nearly two kilometres. The longest in the world is the 27-kilometre lava tunnel in Hawaii, the United States. It is the only site in China where the micro-geomorphological structure is complete, well preserved and clear.


The colourful lava stalactites on the top of the cave and lava bed, the lava basin on the side of the caves, the flowery lava and the lava strips at the bottom of the cave are of great geological, research and aesthetic value. The underground lava waterfall is particularly special.


Lava debris including cinder, lapillus, lava sand and carbonated wood are mainly scattered around the crater.


The volcanic rock near Jingpo Lake is rock of the Quaternary Period. It belongs to alkaline basalt. It is named Jingpo basalt and can be divided into early, middle, late and modern stages.


Water treasures


In addition to the lava and volcanoes, there are also a number of lakes in the park, such as Jingpo Lake, Xiaobei Lake, Zhuanxin Lake, Yuanyang Pool, as well as the stunning Diaoshuilou Waterfall.


Jingpo Lake is 45 kilometres long and covers an area of 79.30 square kilometres. It is the first volcano barrier lake. It has curving bank lines and islands that are of great value aesthetic value. The rocks along the bank were formed during a span of 680 million years. The types of rock include gravel stone, gravel rock, basalt and granite. They have high geological value for education and scientific research.


Diaoshuilou Waterfall is where water from Jingpo Lake pours into the Mudan River. It was formed by the collapse of lava and the erosion of rivers and streams. It is 40 metres in width on average and has a drop of 12 metres. It is one of the top six waterfalls in the country, along with Huangguoshu Waterfall in Guizhou Province, Hukou Waterfall along the Yellow River, Nuorilang Waterfall at Jiuzhaigou, Wenlong Waterfall in Taiwan and Sandiequan Waterfall at Lushan Mountain in Jiangxi Province.


Granite area


The exposed granite area is 1,143 square kilometres in the park, with the main granite geological remains along the banks of Jingpo Lake. Apart from the inevitable minor damage by time, various geological remains in the park have virtually kept their original natural styles and features.


Under the guiding principle of "Protection is the priority", the administrative committee of the scenic spot of Jingpo Lake has worked out a reasonable plan for the park. Proper development and construction have turned the scenic spot into a site for scientific inspection, science education, tourism and sightseeing, recreation and entertainment.


To promote local economic development and gradually enhance economic efficiency, ecological environment and social efficiency for the sustainable development of the park, Mudanjiang has strict regulations on industrial development, population control and development of rural townships.


(China Daily December 8, 2006)


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