Great Wells - Zigong Wells Legend
Text / Li Zhongdong photo / Miao Zhiping
The emergence of Zhuotong wells overcome many drawbacks of the traditional large diameter shallow wells of. Human tentacled to an unprecedented depth at the first time to get what we need at a invisible and unpredictable depth. And the scholars called it impulsive type(drilling)sinking process, as the world's pioneer in drilling technology. And it is considered as the fifth largest inventions after the ancient Chinese paper, compass, movable type printing and gunpowder, and another major contribution to world civilization.
The great well - Shenhai well
China's Great Wall is called the Great Wall by foreign scholars, and Zigong's salt wells are called the Great Wells. Prof. Wo Kieer, a famous contemporary scholar in Germany, had written an article on Zigong Salt Well entitled China's Great Well for The Science and the American, a famous American scientific journal. In this article he wrote, "One hundred and fifty years ago on the earth ,China sank wells of a thousand kilometers to absorb brine ... ... these wells were created by sinking technology accumulated for eight hundred years , the highest achievement in the world of impulsive mining method at that time. Its technique surpassed European technology for four hundred years. This sinking technology has become another great invention following the paper, printing, gunpowder and compass,the four great inventions which Chinese are proud of. "
What the article refers above, is the Shenhai Well located in Daan Anhai, Zigong.
In the period if Ming and Qing Dynasties, salt drilling technology had great breakthrough on the basis of Zhuotong wells’s in the Song Dynasty, and gradually formed a more careful technical specifications. Especially the use of new cementing materials such as stone loops, hardwoods and putties, as well as the use of a large number of inventions in sinking and salvaging.Losing tools (drilling tools, suction cylinders, etc.) , Wall collapsing, underground water and other accidents can be resolved. In the Qianlong period, the depth of the old Shuangsheng reached 513 meters, and the Guiyan well reached 799 meters in the Jiaqing twenty years (AD 1815). For the first time, the salt shaft was cut into the Triassic Leikoupo Formation, the black brine and natural gas level. Daoguang fifteen years (AD 1835), Sun Shenhai well reached 1001.42 meters. Zigong people chiseled the first kilometer-deep wells in the history of mankind. 10 years later in 1845, Americans also created the highest record of the US drilling in the Kano area with only 518 meters.
The excavation of the Sunwell wells not only opened the secrets of the Triassic Jialing River limestone strata, but also led to the rapid development of the regional economy. Zigong area showed a prosperous scene. As early as 1980, the UNESCO Museum magazine had a special report on Shenhai Well, and it said China's drilling technology is far ahead of the Western countries in the early 19 century. In 1985, Zigong government repaired Shenhai Well, retained the original pattern and architectural style, restored the old door, cabin and salt positions, re-trapped the 18.3 meter-high crane, rebuilt the pestle room and stove.The pestle room displaied frame, bamboo tube and well tools. They also reinforced the big car and 16 car cart and other facilities.
Today, this ancient salt workshop which has been preserved for hundreds of years, still works follow the ancient process, drawing out the salt brine from thousands meters below the ground, and then using low pressure to make salt flowing to thousands of households.It became the most real salt origin and salt fossils in Zigong, and complete the reproduction of the drilling, gas production, salt production of the late Qing Dynasty.
Last eighteen cranes
The extensive application of Zhuotong wells has brought two major changes to Zigong. Beneath the ground, we crossed the Cretaceous and Jurassic strata, extended the salt well to the Triassic Lei Koupo Formation and the Jialingjiang Formation which existed for more than 200 million years, where the high quality black brine buried and achieved the thousand years salt city. At the same time, the support for absorbing brine,mining wells and washing wells went higher and hight as the mining depth went deeper and deeper. The construction tied up by hundreds of light weight and corrosion-resistant fir, has a nice name - crane. This special construction was grouped in Zigong's major salt wells as dense as the forest woods which was spectacular. And the scene became the symbol and sign of Zigong.
According to historical records, in the past two thousand years of salt production process, Zigong has a large number of legacies of wells and cranes. In 1914,there were merely 960 self-flow wells while the waste wells are more than 11,800. In 1938, when the war was in full swing, photographer Sun Mingjing, professor of Jinling University and Zhang Yimou’s teacher, carried a 16 mm special Kodak camera and a 120 Zeiss Yikang camera recorded Zigong cranes, salt wells and so on.And eventually amazed the world by the documentary Zigong Salt Wells and an animated film-based film Well Salt Industry. His Zigong test shot was praised as a geography expedition that let countless people see the industrial they may never see by geography master Huang Guozhang
Even Mr. Sun who has been used to see the bustling city skyscrapers, also surprised at the height of the Zigong cranes which only tied up by fine fir, bamboo and rope were higher than some of the highest international hotel in Shanghai. Zigong broke the deepest record of the sinking and the highest record of China's wood structure at the same time.
However, tens of thousands of cranes have collapsed, burned, removed. May 20, 2009, a sudden fire burned the Yuantong crane ,Zigong welcoming pine, located in the internal highway . In Zigong city, only 19 cranes remained, leaving only 18 still stubbornly stand between heaven and earth desolately