Monday, May 7, 2012

Visit to Shanghai

I had the pleasure of visiting China for the past month and although it was not a geology trip per say, geology is hard to ignore since life is indeed a field trip.

I was hoping to blog while on vacation but found that it was a little difficult posting anything while in China.

We flew into Shanghai Pudong airport and it was hard not to notice the low lying fields and what looked like rice paddies near the airport. Driving into the city we were treated to miles (or kilometers) of new construction of massive buildings. The scene of down town Shanghai shows the incredible buildings in the city center. Of course I am from a very small town in the inter mountain west and am unused to buildings over a few stories tall...anyway

What also caught my eye was the amount of water. There are canals and large drainage ditches everywhere. I live in an arid region and I am used to seeing irrigation canals, but these are drainage canals. 

It seems that the whole of the city is built on Quaternary deltaic sediments delivered by the Yangtze river. These sediments, a fine soft clay mixture are similar to what we find in the Mississippi delta region. It makes for great rice fields but not-so-great massive city basement. It seems that most of the new buildings have been built in the top clay layers and some have been sinking from compaction of clay as well as from the subsidence from the use of ground water. 

A water gage on a canal near Shanghai.

The down town at night, including the Oriental Pearl and the Shanghai World Financial Center, the tallest building in China

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