(2) I’m a “Tour Guide” -- A Defaced Beauty (Jiuzhaigou)

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Aug 12, 2017 01:03
A magnitude 7 earthquake hit Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan Province, China a few days ago, causing 20 deaths and hundreds of casualties. In addition, the earthquake wreaked havoc on some parts of the landscape of this UNESCO natural heritage site.

When speaking of China’s beautiful landscapes, British/American people may only think of Guilin and Yangshuo in southwestern China. In my mind’s eye, a few places are even more beautiful. Jiuzhaigou is, no doubt, one of them. The place, a Tibetan community as well as panda habitat, is located in snowy mountains on the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, and is famous for its stunning forest and lake scenery.

Well, alpine forests and lakes can be found in many other countries, say, Switzerland or New Zealand. What makes Jiuzhaigou stand out from similar places in other parts of the world, and get recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site, is its incredibly beautiful waters: a dense cluster of barrier lakes. Snowmelt flows down the mountains and is trapped by landslide dams, forming many lakes. The water, with various mineral substances in it, looks gorgeous in the sun. The lake water displays different shades of green and blue, and is surrounded with yellow, green and red clusters of trees, with mighty snowy mountains in the background. All these make Jiuzhaigou a fairyland.

As you may have noticed, this landscape was formed by seismic activities. It’s no surprise that another earthquake struck the place. However, at the same time, that “ruined” some scenic places. The lake water has drained through the dam breaches. Some waterfalls have changed their courses or have totally disappeared. It’s hard to say they have been destroyed for good, because some lakes and waterfalls might be formed somewhere nearby in the future. But, the thing is, this process may take tens of thousands of years, or more...

In recorded history, earthquakes have struck this place infrequently. But, human life spans are so short compared to nature. <*I feel like there is an idiom that fits in here, but I could not put my finger on it. Seemingly “a flash in the pan,” but methinks this period of time is a bit long.>.

Worse still, I haven’t been to Jiuzhaigou yet. During the past several years, overseas travel has always been my priority. My bad. China has many beautiful places! I’ll have to visit them as soon as possible.

[Revised]
中国四川省九寨沟发生了一场里氏7级地震,20人死亡,数百人受伤。同时,这场地震毁坏了部分世界自然遗产景观。

说到中国美丽的景色,很多英美人会想到中国西南部的桂林和阳朔。在我看来,中国很多地方都比桂林漂亮。九寨沟就是其中之一。九寨沟是藏区,也是熊猫栖息地,位于青藏高原的东部,以绝美的湖光山色举世闻名。

说到高山森林和湖泊,很多其它国家也有,比如瑞士和新西兰。但是,九寨沟和这些地方不同之处在于,拥有大量的高山堰塞湖,因此也被联合国教科文组织列入为世界自然遗产。冰雪融化后,水往山脚下流淌,被地震形成的自然坝体所阻挡,形成了堰塞湖。湖水中有丰富的矿物质,在阳光照射下极其美丽。湖水碧绿又湛蓝,被红色、绿色和黄色的树林层层围绕,又有雪山作为映衬,使九寨沟成为一处人间仙境。

也许你注意到了,九寨沟美景是地震活动的杰作。所以这次地震也不是什么奇怪之事,不过却“毁坏”了部分景区。地震导致坝体开裂,水从裂缝中流出,湖水干涸,一些瀑布改道,甚至消失。不过,这些景色是否永久消失尚不得而知,因为水流会在其他地方形成堰塞湖,不过这一过程最少需要数万年。

虽然在有史料记载以来,九寨沟的地震次数不多,但人类和自然相比,简直是沧海一粟,须臾之于星移斗转。更糟糕的是,我还没去过九寨沟,我这几年一般都去海外旅行。这样真是使不得,中国还有很多绝世美景,我一定要抓紧时间去走走看看。