Tanshan Night Scenery

Last updated by chinatravel at 2014/5/8

“Tanshan Night Scenery”is a landscape of the spontaneous combustion of the surface coal in Yandong Ditch located on the upper bank of the river, the urban area of Zhongwei. Tanshan is also called Xiaodong Mountain. It is located in Changle Town that is on the southern bank of the Yellow River, the urban area of Zhongwei. Under its bridge of mountain, bituminous coal is stored. Because of the earthquake cracks, the coal mining made by small coalpits, and overexposure to the sun, etc., there is spontaneous combustion of the surface coal lasting all year round. Viewed in the daytime, it is circled by mists. Walking by its side is just like riding on clouds and fogs. Viewed at night, the picture of flames rising to the sky is just like a myriad of lights. When there is a breeze, it dies out here and burns there. The sight is especially wonderful. It is recorded in The Annals of Zhongwei County like this, “When it burns is unknown. We can only see thick smoke at day. At night, the flames are bright. The clouds and rosy clouds are made gorgeous. The water and the sky are illuminated”. It is commonly called Flame Mountain. It is said like this in the poem made by our forefather, “The flames in the southwest are the most raging of all. The lighting is left in the distant wasteland for centuries. Because of the wind, it looks like adding oil to the night lamp. After the rain, it looks as the weakened night light. The road on the opposite bank is also lighted. By the river, the splendid shining gives you direction for leaving. A myriad of stone fire burn brightly. The smokes from kitchen chimney are locked by mists for ten miles”. However, here is a burning, there is a going out. As time goes on, because the crust has undergone great changes, so there is no longer spontaneous combustion of the coal. Wisps of smoke are the same, but the raging flames are no more. Since the adoption of reform and opening policies, Changle Town makes full use of the advantages of local resources to develop rural enterprises vigorously. They have opened coalpits along Xiaodong Mountain. In order to enhance economic returns, they coke the mined raw coal by burning. Heaps of coals for coking are scatterd along the mountain. After the heaps of coal are ignited, viewed in the daytime, it is locked and circled by mists; while viewed at night, the flames rising to the sky are just like lights in the hilly city. The scenery is quite similar to the description in the fomer poem, so the locaol people call it “bright light for night Scenery”. In this way, the already disappeared wonderful scenery of Zhongwei, “Tanshan Night Scenery”, continues.

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