China establishes quake monitoring network for three gorges

China establishes quake monitoring network for three gorges

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A tremor monitoring and early warning network for the Three Gorges reservoir area was set up in Chongqing, western China’s biggest municipality, the local government said.

The network combines a local earthquake monitoring station with the city’s GPS monitoring network. It will improve the existing geological disaster monitoring system, which was designed for detecting medium and strong geological movement, the city’s seismological bureau said.

“With the new network, even the slightest movement in the reservoir area can be detected, providing local government complete first-hand information,” said Hu Xuqing, an official in charge of the geological calamities prevention office of the reservoir area.

The construction of the Three Gorges Project on the Yangtze River, the world’s biggest hydro-electric project, began in 1993 and is expected to be completed in 2009. Geological disasters like landslides, collapses and muck-rock flows were very common before the construction of the Three Gorges Project, sparking fears about possible calamities after the water storage.

China has invested more than 4 billion yuan (US$482 million) in the prevention and control of geological disasters in the Three Gorges area. This new network is a part of the system, said Hu.
“We have started 24-hour monitoring of the geological situation in the reservoir area and will issue early warnings if necessary,” he said.

Hu said that a special geographical disaster data base for the reservoir area has been established and advanced technologies like satellite remote sensing are being used to monitor the geological situation in the area.