Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Chinese Dam Saves Dino Fossils

From News.Cn:

Workers have spent three years building a huge earth dam to protect valuable dinosaur bones from being washed away by one of China's most famous rivers. A horde of dinosaur bones lies buried in a mountain that sits right on the river that forms the boundary between China and Russia - the Heilongjiang River. So far, thousands of dinosaur fossil bones have been unearthed from the mountain and assembled into 13 dinosaur skeletons, which are now exhibited in several museums nationwide.

Archaeologists believe there are enough fossil bones buried in the mountain to put together at least 100 more dinosaur skeletons. Every summer, rising waters and strong currents erode parts of the mountain, leaving dinosaur fossils exposed. Many fossils have been washed away in the past. So the Land and Resources Department of Heilongjiang Province ordered the building of a 1,450-meter-long embankment on the Chinese bank of the river to stop the fossils being washed away.

Building the embankment has been hard, with workers battling cold and long winters at a high altitude in China's cold northernmost province. Rising water levels in the summer also limit construction times, and it has taken workers three years to complete the 1,450-meter-long, 5.5-meter-high and 10-meter wide embankment around the dinosaur fossil site.

Dinosaur Mountain, which used to be called Mountain of Dinosaur Bones, is inside Jiayin Dinosaur National Geologic Park at Jiayin County, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province.