Ancient rock carvings give way as flooding hits park
About 1,500 rock carvings at Helan Mountain in the Ningxia Hui autonomous region have washed away since Sunday in rare flooding caused by heavy rainfall in the region.
Losses at the Helan Mountain Rock Paintings Conservation Park were estimated to be 50 million yuan ($7.5 million), Yinchuan Evening News reported.
The park’s staff members are sparing no efforts in searching for the rocks in nearby water, the report said.
With pictures etched on rock faces, the carvings depict human faces, animals and hunting scenes of nomadic people from such ethnic groups as the Xianbei, Qiang, Rouran, Tujue, Tubo, Dangxiang and Mongolians. The most ancient ones are estimated to be between 3,000 and 10,000 years old.
About 6,000 pieces of the rock art have been discovered on the cliffs at the pass of Helan Mountain, and most of them remained well-preserved until flooding on Tuesday caused some of the rocks to collapse.
Precipitation on Tuesday in the Baisikou trench of Helan Mountain reached 200 millimeters over seven hours, setting a record for the area.
By the end ofMonday, about 5,000 people living in the Helan Mountain area had been relocated, according to local media.
Helan Mountain, in Helan county of Yinchuan, the capital of Ningxia, has the largest number of rock carvings in China.
The pass of Helan Mountain, covering an area of 10 square kilometers, is home to the rock carving themed park, which is open to tourists and researchers.