Thursday, November 17, 2016

Geologists Find Evidence of China’s Great Flood

Great Flood

Chines Civilization – Great Flood

Chinese civilization as per legend had started with Great Flood which had covered the plains of northern and the central area of China for around 22 years, till the rule of Yu who had led a great dredging project that had brought the river to its original channel. The gods had rewarded Yu with a divine decree to rule China and had found the Xia, its first imperial dynasty.

 The story of the Great Flood and the founding of Chinese civilization by Yu, for 1000 years had been handed down as oral history before eventually coming into written record in the first millennium BCE. However, with no solid proof of Xia or the flood, scholars have been debating whether these events really took place or were it the substance of legend.

 It seems that the Great Flood could have been a real natural disaster which struck the Yellow River valley in around 1920 BCE. A group of geologists headed by Wu Qinglong of Nanjing Normal University had located the remains of a landslide which had dammed up the Yellow River, 1000 of years ago where it had flowed through Jishi Gorge in northern China’s Qinghai Province.

Sediments – Upstream of Dam

The dimension of the natural dam could be between the size of the Three Gorges Dam in China and the Hoover Dam in the U.S. which had blocked the river totally and the water which had built up behind it finally formed a lake 650 feet deep. The researchers found sediments, upstream of the dam, which seemed to match with what would gather on the bottom of a dammed lake.

These were mostly fragments of purple-brown mud-rock and green schist that were washed in the lower Jishi Gorge and downstream into the Guanting Basin.They had mentioned in the paper published in Science that at the mouth of the gorge, where the Yellow River enters Guanting Basin, the sediments had reached 20m thickness, including boulders up to 2m in diameter.

The sediments assisted in outlining the size of the dammed lake as well as the area covered by the flood. Centred on those areas, the researchers calculated that when the landslide dam eventually gave way, it had unleashed a torrent of 300,000 to 500,000 cubic meters of water per second.

The Flood – Breaking Point

The flood has been the breaking point in a rough year for the Oija villages towards this stretch of the Yellow River which had begun with an earthquake that had devastated a settlement on a bend in the river on the Guanting Basin, a few miles south of the Jishi Gorge.

 The locals had abandoned the site after the earthquake, which is presently Lajia and had left behind the bodies of almost five victims trapped in their shrunken homes. Those who survived in the area downstream of the gorge, the flood could have come as an awful shock.

This was not a mere local calamity. Wu Qinglong together with his team had estimated that the floodwaters could have travelled more than 1,000 mils down the Yellow River and probably even more ahead. The flood could have breached through the river’s natural level and could have also crossed the banks carving a new course through the plains of northern China.

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