Tangjiashan Lake

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Tangjiashan Lake
Tangjiashan Lake (map).png
Map of the lake as of June 3, 2008.
Location Beichuan, Sichuan
Coordinates 31°50′12″N 104°27′18″E / 31.8366°N 104.4551°E / 31.8366; 104.4551Coordinates: 31°50′12″N 104°27′18″E / 31.8366°N 104.4551°E / 31.8366; 104.4551
Type Barrier lake
Primary inflows Jian River
Basin countries China

Tangjiashan Lake (Chinese: 唐家山堰塞湖, literally "Tang's Mountain landslide dam-created lake") is a landslide dam-created lake on the Jian River, which was formed by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.[1] Its name comes from the nearby mountain Tangjiashan. On May 24, 2008 the water level rose by 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) in a single day, reaching a depth of 23 metres (75 ft), just 29 metres (95 ft) below the barrier level.[1][2] As of June 9, 2008 more than 250,000 people have been evacuated from Mianyang in anticipation of the Tangjiashan Lake dam bursting.[3][4]

A similar lake in the same province that formed 222 years earlier caused one of the worst landslide-related disasters in history. On June 10, 1786 a landslide dam on Sichuan's Dadu River, created by an earthquake ten days earlier, burst and caused a flood that extended 1400 km downstream and killed 100,000 people.[5]

A "relatively strong" aftershock on June 8, 2008 shook the massive earthquake-formed lake that has been threatening to flood more than 1 million people and triggered landslides in surrounding mountains. Soldiers used digging equipment, explosives, and even missiles to blast channels in the dam in an attempt to relieve the pressure behind it.[6]

The flow from the sluice channel cut into the dam increased dramatically on June 10, 2008, going from 300 cubic meters/second to 7000 cubic meters/second in the span of four hours.[7] The muddy waters flowed rapidly downstream causing flooding in the evacuated town of Beichuan and overtopping of dams.[8]

In 2013 broken banks from a severe flood causes the lake's water to fall to 503 meters above sea level, 40 meters below its peak and 9 meters below its 2010 level. As water receded, the Xuanping town in the Beichuan Qiang Autonomous County was revealed.[9]

The lake is now within the Beichuan Earthquake Museum. [10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Backgrounder: Tangjiashan lake". CCTV International. Retrieved 2008-05-28. 
  2. ^ Watts, Jonathan (2008-05-30). "200,000 flee from growing Sichuan lake". London: Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  3. ^ "More people being evacuated from swollen lake area in southwest China". Xinhua News Agency. 2008-05-27. Retrieved 2008-05-27. 
  4. ^ "Chinese quake lake still rising". BBC News. 2008-06-09. 
  5. ^ Schuster, R.L.; Wieczorek, G.F. (2002). "Landslide triggers and types". Landslides: Proceedings of the First European Conference on Landslides. A.A. Balkema Publishers: 59–78. ISBN 978-90-5809-393-6. 
  6. ^ "Mapping the earthquake zone". BBC News. 2008-06-10. Retrieved 2008-06-09. 
  7. ^ Petley, Dave (2008-06-10). "Dave's Landslide Blog". 
  8. ^ Wong, Edward (2008-06-10). "Flooding spreads more destruction in town below 'quake lake'". International Herald Tribune. 
  9. ^ The village that came back from the dead: Eerie images of Chinese ghost town that has emerged from under water five years after earthquake by Anthony Bond, the Daily Mail ,3 September 2013 http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2409693/Chinese-ghost-town-Xuanping-emerges-water-5-years-earthquake-caused-flood.html
  10. ^ "北川国家地震遗址博物馆" (Chinese). Phoenix News. March 31, 2009.