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China Finds 14,000km Underground Rivers in Rock Desert Areas

A newly conducted geological survey has found more than 3,000 underground rivers with a total length of 14,000 kilometers in southwest China's rock desert areas.

A latest report released by the China Geological Survey showed that these underground rivers collect water from a combined area of 300,000 square kilometers, with an annual runoff of 47 billion cubic meters, equivalent to that of the Yellow River, the country's second longest river.

These underground rivers account for 70 percent of the total underground water in the rock desert areas, which is a valuable resource for future development, the report said.

China's rock deserts are mainly in the karst erosion areas in southwestern provinces of Guizhou and Yunnan and the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. In these areas, surface water easily leaks through the carbonate terrane, leaving the land dry and leading to rock desertification.

The report suggested the government adopt more effective ways to stop the expanding of rock desert areas.

(Xinhua News Agency October 1, 2008)

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