Thu, Mar 25, 2010 - Page 15 News List

Visitors flock to the clock in the rock 遊客湧入太極峽谷眺望「石時鐘」


How come there is a large clock in the rock in Taiji Gorge, showing the time of the big 921 earthquake? This “stone clock” that appeared after the 921 earthquake has clearly visible hour and minute hands pointing to 1.47. No one seeing this stamp left by the great earthquake can fail to take a deep breath in awe of the mysterious ways of the creator.

The 921 earthquake struck at 1.47am on Sep 21, 1999. After the quake, an astonished Tsai Cheng-wei, an elected representative in Jhushan Township close to Taiji Gorge, noticed that a “clock” had appeared in the rock.

Tsai said a landslide occurred in Taiji Gorge in 1986, tragically killing 28 people and injuring more than 30 others. Since then, the gorge was closed off and it didn’t open again until April 2006 when a suspension bridge popularly called the “Ladder to Heaven” was completed and gave the public a chance to see the clock in the rock with their own eyes.

If you walk to the middle of the 136m long Ladder to Heaven, and then look in the 11 o’clock direction you can see the clock in the rock. After a few sharp-eyed Internet users discovered this odd view, they took pictures and posted them to the Internet.

Tsai said there was no path through which one can reach the clock in the rock, but that he had climbed to a spot close by to get a better look. He estimates that the clock is about 6m long and 4m wide. A big chunk of rock fell out of the cliff side during the earthquake, leaving a shape with cracks that looks like the hour, minute and second hands. Many years of insufficient maintenance, however, has slowly changed the shape of the rock clock. What was at first an oblong shape has now changed into a shield shape as moss and grass have begun to grow on the face of the rock.

Tsai Yi-chu, a Nantou county councilor, said the fish and dragon shaped fossils that could be seen at Taiji Gorge’s fossil observation platform in the past have been covered up by moss and grass, and that if the clock in the rock is not protected soon, it is very likely that it also will be covered up by growth.

Nantou County government’s tourist chief Hung Wen-neng said that if he hadn’t been told by reporters he would not have known of this wonder in Taiji Gorge. He also said that he will visit the area in the near future and see what should be done to protect the view.

(Liberty Times, translated by Perry Svensson)










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