China’s renowned tourist site Jiuzhaigou may never flaunt its fairytale-like scenery ever again after Tuesday's deadly earthquake.
The 7.0-magnitude earthquake caused “massive destruction” to the tourist site, according to environmental expert Peng Yingcheng.
“It’s not difficult to restore infrastructure like roads and parking lots. But it’s almost impossible to fully renovate natural landscape, such as the Nuorilang Waterfall which has been severely wrecked by the quake,” Peng told Beijing News.
The Nuorilang Waterfall is the widest travertine topped waterfall in the world and one of the signature spots of Jiuzhaigou. During winter, the waterfall usually freezes creating an enormous ice curtain.
Nuorilang Waterfall before the earthquake. /Photo via Jiuzhaigou National Park
Nuorilang Waterfall after the earthquake. /Photo via the Lanzhou Evening News
The waterfall, once the filming location of China’s famous TV series "Journey to the West", has witnessed rockfall and turned into a mud pool.
The earthquake also caused a 50-meter-long, 12-meter-deep and 20-meter-wide crevasse to appear in another famous scenic spot, the Sparkling Lake.
The lake, lying between woods, used to feature azure blue water.
Sparkling Lake before the earthquake. /Photo via Jiuzhaigou National Park
Sparkling Lake after the earthquake. /Photo via the Lanzhou Evening News
“Through dykes, restoration of the lake is achievable to some degree,” said Xu Xiwei, deputy director of the Institute of Geology at the China Earthquake Administration.
The temblor also affected many other sites, including Shu Zheng Valley, Ze Cha Wa Valley and Rhinoceros Lake.
According to the Jiuzhaigou Scenic Spot Management Bureau, restoration work will go through three steps, namely cleaning up the debris, fortifying the features and repairing the environment.
Luo Jita from the bureau told Beijing News that about 10 trucks have entered Jiuzhaigou to start the cleanup work since Friday.
Celebrated as "Heaven on Earth," Jiuzhaigou with its 72,000-hectare national park attracts more than two million people annually.
Rhinoceros Lake before the earthquake. /Photo via Jiuzhaigou National Park
The site is now closed and it remains unknown when it will reopen to tourists.
“Personally, I think the Jiuzhaigou area will undergo recovery for the next two or three years,” said Luo.
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