Tue, May 01, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Burst of color brightens south’s abandoned salt ponds

By Yang Chin-cheng and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

A woman stands on a spit at the Dingshan salt pools in Tainan’s Cigu District, in a photograph taken by birdwatcher Fang Jung-chang on Saturday.

Photo courtesy of Fang Jung-chang

Tainan’s dry spell has turned the abandoned Dingshan (頂山) salt ponds in Cigu District (七股) into a field of spectacular and beautiful colors, local explorer Huang San-ming (黃三明) said.

The salt mines, established by the Japanese colonial government in 1942, used the ponds to extract salt from the sea.

After mining operations were closed in 2002, the salt ponds were mostly forgotten, because of their remote location, which is only accessible by foot, Huang said.

A bird-watching friend, Fang Jung-chang (方榮昌), chanced upon the scenery when he was visiting the area and told him about it, Huang said.

Evaporated seawater trapped in the salt pools has turned the ponds into a rusty reddish-brown color, he said.

Some parts of the pools have turned into crystallized salt, forming interesting lines and patterns that appear white or pale blue, depending on the lighting, he added.

The weather condition has to be right, with the water containing the right amount of residual brine and sunlight, for such a phenomenon to appear, he said.

Fortunately, the salt ponds have been left undisturbed because of their inaccessibility, he said.

Taking pictures early in the morning or during twilight yields dramatically different results, he said.

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