Yangtze River History – Three Gorges
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Yangtze River History – Three Gorges

Yangtze River Three Gorges

Yangtze River History – Brief Introduction of Three Gorges

Three Gorges is the generic term of Qutang Gorge, Wu Gorge and Xiling Gorge in Yangtze River area. Three Gorges start from White Emperor City, Fengjie County in western to Nanjing Pass, Yichang in eastern, stretching 204 kilometers.The Three Gorges is famous for the wonderful scenry of gorges and water. In the long Yangtze River history, thousands of visitors ever took Yangtze Cruise to enjoy the scenery.

Yangtze River History – Sections of Three Gorges

The Yangtze River from White Emperor City to Daxi Town, Wushan County is Qutang Gorge, including Bellow Gorge and Cuomen Gorge. The Qutang Gorge is about 8 kilometers long, the shortest one among the Three Gorges. The mountains on the both banks of Qutang Gorge almost are over 1000 meters high. The cliffs in Qutang Gorge are very steep, and the river course is very narrow. The widest part of the river course in Qutang Gorge less than 150 meters. Come out from Qutang Gorge, then pass by 25 kilometers long Daning River valley will come into Wu Gorge. Wu Gorge starts from Daning River entrance in Wushan County to Guandukou in Hubei Province, stretching 45 kilometers. The Wu Gorges is a complete, quiet and deep gorge. In Wu Gorge, trees on the queer mountains of the both banks are dense and green. The thousands miles high Twelve Peaks of Mt. Wu tower up on the northern bank and southern bank of Wu Gorge. Wu Gorge, also named Big Gorge, includes Golden Helmet and Silver Armor Gorge and Iron Coffin Gorge. Come out from the east entrance of Wu Gorge, and pass by 50 kilometers long Xiangxi Stream will come into 75 kilometers long Xiling Gorge. Xiling Gorge starts from the Xiangxi Stream entrance in Zigui County, Hubei Province to Nanjing Pass in Yichang, including Military Manual and Precious Sword Gorge, OX Liver and Horse Lung Gorge, Kongling Gorge. In Xiling Gorge, there are many shoals and water flows fast. The famous Qingtan Shoal and Kongling Shoal are located in this gorge.

Yangtze River History – Formation of Three Gorges

Three Gorges were formed by intermittent uplifting of the earth crust, regressive erosion of river and constant limestone erosion on the both banks. In Mesozoic Era Triassic, 200 millions years ago, the western part of China is a part of Tethys. At that time, the bay stretched to east of Sichuan and west of Hubei. In early Jurassic, 190 millions years ago, there was a large scale crustal movement which made the earth crust upswell in this area. The sea retreated back, and the sea bottom upswell as mountain, which is the first watershed on the land in this region. Since then, the rivers which flow to western part were cut off, and the rivers in eastern part flow into the lake basin in east of Yichang. In early Cretaceous period, 140 millions years ago, another large scale crustal movement made Mt. Wu upswell and become new watershed. The water system on the eastern and western slope of Mt. Wu began head ward erosion. After a long time, the water system in eastern slope finally came across the Mt. Wu watershed, and connected with the western water system. So the ancient Yangtze River formed. Later, the river bed of Yangtze River regressive eroded over 1000 meters. The stream valley which is composed of hard and soluble limestone was eroded and moved by water, formed the quiet and deep gorge with steep cliffs.

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