Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 100–104 | Cite as

Change in sediment load of the Yangtze River after Wenchuan earthquake

  • Genwei Cheng
  • Xiubin HeEmail author
  • Guirong Chen
  • Heping Tao


On May 12, 2008, an earthquake of 8.0 magnitude on the Richter scale and its numerous aftershocks devastatingly hit Wenchuan County and its nearby region along the Longman Mountains in Sichuan Province, China. The heavy ruined area was up to 30,000 km2 and 13% of its land surface was denuded by the extremely terrible quakes. The mountain collapses, landslides and debris flows induced by the earthquake not only scared the landscape at the immense scale, but also poured 1.66-billion-m3 sediment combined with offscourings and rubble into the Yangtze River and its breaches. This amount of sediments is 3 times more than the normal amount discharged into the Yangtze River, and will significantly increase sediment transportation of rivers and decrease storage capacities of reservoirs downstream. The dramatic increase in sediment load will imperil the engineering safety and impact the operation of the giant Three-Gorge Hydro-power Station if no proper prevention measures are taken.


Wenchuan earthquake sediment load the Yangtze River 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Genwei Cheng
    • 1
  • Xiubin He
    • 1
    Email author
  • Guirong Chen
    • 2
  • Heping Tao
    • 1
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Mountain Environment Evolvement and RegulationInstitute of Mountain Hazards & Environment, CASChengduChina
  2. 2.Sichuan Hydrology & Water Resource Survey BureauChengduChina

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