Fate of ‘Queen’s Head’ re­mains un­cer­tain de­spite ef­forts to save it

The China Post - - LOCAL -

The “Queen’s Head,” the most fa­mous rock for­ma­tion in Yehliu Geop­ark, faces an un­cer­tain fate de­spite an all-out ef­fort to pre­vent its thin­ning neck from snap­ping, the North Coast & Guanyin­shan Na­tional Scenic Area said.

Kuo Chen-ling, the sec­re­tary-gen­eral of the scenic area ad­min­is­tra­tion, said Mon­day that ex­per­i­ments done on four mush­room rocks near the Queen’s Head have found that nan­otech­nol­ogy can pre­vent ero­sion, but it still has some draw­backs that have yet to be over­come.

In the ex­per­i­ments done over the past nine months, nan­otech­nol­ogy has proven that it could re­in­force the queen’s neck and de­lay the weath­er­ing process, Kuo said.

But it has also caused the rocks to whiten and sliv­ers of the rocks’ sur­faces to break off amid the dra­matic changes in tem­per­a­ture, mois­ture and sun­shine on the North Coast, he said.

“We have high ex­pec­ta­tions for the nan­otech­nol­ogy, but we also wel­come ev­ery­one to pro­vide their valu­able views,” Kuo said.

He said the out­door ex­per­i­ments must suc­cess­fully main­tain the ap­pear­ance, color and sense of beauty of the rocks be­ing tested be­fore the nan­otech­nol­ogy ap­proach can be ap­plied to the “Queen’s Head.”

Due to the thin­ning of the neck of the popular queen’s head (from 144 cen­time­ters in 2006 to the present 126 cm), the gov­ern­ment has looked for “other new loyal fam­ily mem­bers” in the Yehliu Geop­ark, such as a “cute princess,” but the “queen’s head” seems to be ir­re­place­able.

In 2011, the na­tional scenic area com­mis­sioned a team headed by Na­tional Tai­wan Uni­ver­sity pro­fes­sor Hsieh Kuo-huang to begin re­search on sav­ing the “Queen’s Head.”

The na­tional scenic area con­ducted an opin­ion poll which showed that 63 per­cent of the peo­ple and Wanli res­i­dents sup­ported us­ing nan­otech­nol­ogy to fix the rock, and over half the tourists and schol­ars sur­veyed also fa­vored the tech­nol­ogy.

At the end of Au­gust 2014, Hsieh’s re­search team chose four mush­room rocks near the “Queen’s Head” to begin its ex­per­i­ment.

Even in the worst-case sce­nario where the head can­not be saved, Kuo said, polls show that 70 per­cent of vis­i­tors sur­veyed would still be will­ing to visit Yehliu Geop­ark to see the other at­trac­tions.

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