Experts dismiss rumors about connection between Three Gorges Dam and earthquake

By Zhang Hui Source:Global Times Published: 2019/7/4 21:58:40

Project unrelated to remote earthquakes: expert

Photo taken on February 25, 2017, shows blossoms nearby the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River in Zigui County, Central China's Hubei Province. Photo: Xinhua

China's seismic experts dismissed latest rumors about a connection between the Three Gorges Dam and an earthquake in Southwest China, and those speculating on the risk of the dam breaking. 

On Thursday, a 5.6-magnitude earthquake struck Gongxian county, Yibin in Southwest China's Sichuan Province, the fifth earthquake to hit Yibin since June. 

In response to recent speculation about the earthquakes and the dam, Guo Xun, a research fellow at the Institute of Engineering Mechanics at the China Earthquake Administration, told the Global Times that it is impossible for the Three Gorges Dam to cause the earthquake in Yibin, which is more than 800 kilometers away.  

"Chinese scientists spent more than 30 years choosing the site of the Three Gorges Dam, where very few faults could trigger earthquakes," Guo said. The Three Gorges Dam is located in Yichang, Central China's Hubei Province. 

The level of seismic activities in the Three Gorges Reservoir were not high in the first half of 2019 with some very low-intensity earthquakes, and the overall reservoir bank remains safe and stable, the China Three Gorges Corporation (CTG) said. 

Sun Shihong, a researcher at the China Earthquake Networks Center, told that Thursday's earthquake was an aftershock of the Changning earthquake on June 17.  

Aftershocks were triggered by small faults near the Changning earthquake zone, according to local earthquake prediction center.

The Three Gorges project is a multi-functional water control system, consisting of a 2,309 meter-long and 185 meter-high dam, a five-tier ship lock and 26 hydropower turbo-generators. The project generates electricity, controls flooding by storing excess water, and helps to regulate the river's shipping capacity. Its construction began in 1993. 

Misconceptions on the Three Gorges Dam were not limited to causing Sichuan earthquakes, with some netizens circulating satellite images on social media since Monday, which were allegedly taken by Google Maps and showed a deformed dam, warning that the dam might break.

CTG employees denied the deformation of the dam when interviewed by on Wednesday. Experts also questioned the origin of the photos based on current online materials. Satellite images could be malformed because of the influence of temperatures and water vapor, Guo said, noting that the dam was designed to survive 1,000 years.

The hydropower project worked well in the first half of 2019 with significant achievements on shipping, power generation and water resource utilization, CTG said. 

An ecological test conducted at the Three Gorges Reservoir in May showed that the reproductive output of four major kinds of fish in the Yidu section - black carp, grass carp, chub and bighead carp - was equivalent to the scale of spawning in the Jingjiang river in Hubei in the 1990s, representing a remarkable ecological effect, the CTG added.

Newspaper headline: Three Gorges Dam not at risk


blog comments powered by Disqus