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China establishes earthquake monitoring for Three Gorges Dam
BEIJING (AFP) Apr 04, 2005
An earthquake monitoring and early tremor warning system has been set up for China's 21 billion dollar Three Gorges Dam, the world's biggest hydroelectric project, state press announced Monday.

The system combines a local earthquake monitoring station with the global positioning (GPS) monitoring network of Chongqing municipality and is designed to detect medium and strong geological movement, Xinhua news agency reported.

"With the new network, even the slightest movement in the reservoir area can be detected, providing local government complete first-hand information," it quoted Hu Xuqing, an official in charge of the geological calamities prevention office of the reservoir area, as saying.

Construction of the controversial dam began in 1993 and is expected to be completed in 2009 when all of its planned generators come online.

A huge reservoir behind the dam has led to the resettlement of up to one million farmers, while large portions of the scenic and historic Three Gorges region have been submerged.

Geological disasters like landslides, collapses and muck-rock flows were common before the construction of the dam, sparking fears about possible calamities after the reservoir filled with water.

Xinhua, however, said China has invested more than 4 billion yuanmillion US dollars) in the prevention and control of geological disasters in the Three Gorges area, with the new network a part of the system.

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