Jiuzhaigou Valley is located in northern Sichuan province in China. The UNESCO World Heritage is famous for miles of attached lakes with brilliant blue and green colors and accompanying waterfalls.
650 sq Kms of the Minshan mountains provide the catchment for the water system of Jiuzhaigou. The highest peak in the range is a mountain sacred to the Tibetan people of the Valley, this is Xuebaoding with a height of 5,588 Metres. The waters of Jiuzhaigou are high in carbonates and deposit large quantities of light yellow travertine , a soft porous rock that hardens with exposure. As the waters flow through the valley the travertine deposits are responsible for the creation of picturesque waterfalls and dams that hold crystal clear lakes.
The average visibility of the water in the lakes of Jiuzhaigou is 12 metres . Fallen trees and other lake bed features are clearly visible and are preserved by the travertine deposits.
On the shelves of shallow water leading to the Nuorilang and Pearl shawl waterfalls the travertine deposits have created a natural wonderland of Bonsai trees and bushes.
This watershed is part of the Yangtse river system feeding to the main stream via the Baishui, Bailong and Jailing rivers.
(China.org.cn February 5, 2007)