Springs in Jinan Are Matchless under the Sun
Jinan has been known as the “City of Springs”. Numerous clear and sweet springs gush from the underground and form rivers and lakes in the city. In the water abundant season, people in the areas with dense springs will see the gorgeous views that “every household has spring water and willows”, and “over the glistening rocks the spring water glides”. As early as in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), litterateur Zeng Gong said: “Qi teems with sweet springs, matchless under the sun.” Yu Qinyi, a geographer of the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), praised: “Jinan’s mountains and rivers rank first in Qilu and its springs are the finest under heaven.”
Springs in Jinan boast a long history. The Spring and Autumn Period-18th Year of the Duke Huan of Lu records that in 694 BC, Duke Huan of Lu and Duke Xiang of Qi met at the Luoshui River. Luo is the ancient name of Baotu Spring. Li Daoyuan, a geographer of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534), described in the Commentary on the Waterways Classic·Volume VIII·Jishui 2 that, “Luoshui River originates from a spring gushing out like a wheel in the southwest of the old downtown of Licheng County.” Yuan Haowen, a litterateur of the Jin Dynasty (1115-1234), said in his Notes on Travel in Jinan that there were 72 famous springs in Jinan. Yu Qin recorded the name and location of the 72 springs in the book titled Qi Cheng. In the early Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Yan Bi wrote the Poem on Seventy-two Springs of Jinan. In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), there were numerous poems, songs, articles and books recording the springs.
The large number of springs in Jinan is rare among the Chinese cities. Shen Tingfang of the Qing Dynasty said in the Record on Xianqing Garden that there were 90 old springs and 55 new ones, totaling 145. The Annals of Jinan Prefecture compiled during the Daoguang Period has it that there are all together 151 springs. Sheng Bai’er, a literator during the Qianlong Period, said in his Record on Tingquanzhai Hall more realistically: “Springs in Lixia lead the country. There are 72 famous springs, 59 ones with names and about one hundred nameless ones.” According to the investigation of No.1 Hydrogeological Team of Shandong Province in 1964, there were 108 natural springs in the urban area of Jinan. A total of 119 spring pools were listed in the survey materials of the Leading Group of Jinan Urban Planning and Construction in 1980. In June and July 1983 and June 1998, the Bureau of Parks and Woods and Famous Springs Protection and Management Office of Jinan City, on the basis of the above-mentioned records, made a survey and found out that there were 139 springs with names in the urban area of the city. By June 1998, except those falling into oblivion and filled with earth and the like, there were still 103 spring pools basically intact, including 41 ones among the 72 famous springs listed on the Stele of Famous Springs. Those spring pools are concentrated in an area of only 26 square km from Qinglong Bridge in the east to Kuangshi Street in the west and from Zhengjuesi Street in the south to the Daming Lake in the north.
Springs, dotted in Jinan, differ greatly from each other. Some are like boiling torrent; some like roaring, pouring waterfalls; some like strings of pearls, bright and crystal; and some like stringed plucked instruments producing melodious and sonorous sound….The whole city is immersed in gurgling springs and poetic and pictorial splendor, attracting men of letters in all previous dynasties. From the Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming to Qing Dynasty, such celebrities as Li Bai, Zeng Gong, Su Zhe, Zhao Mengfu, Pu Songling and Wang Shizhen left poems and articles in praise of the springs. The springs in Jinan cultivated one after another generation of poets and Ci writers, of graceful and restrained school or bold and unconstrained school, represented by Li Qingzhao and Xin Qiji respectively. With unique and beautiful natural landscape and extremely profound historical and cultural connotation, these springs have attracted numerous domestic and foreign tourists. In particular since the reform and opening up, the annual tourist flow volume has surpassed two million. Spring has become a symbol of Jinan and its “eyes”, playing an increasingly important “leading” role in urban construction, economic development, tourism, culture and other aspects. These springs are named after shape, color, sound, surname, legend, animals and plants, musical instrument or jewelry, or nameless.
Springs in Jinan are also famous for its purity and quality. Coming from the depths of the rock formation, they are little affected by temperature, thus having relatively stable water temperature. Its temperature maintains at 17 to 18℃ perennially. The spring water is colorless, odorless, clear and sweet, being high-quality beverage. The “Pulisi” mineral water of Jinan developed in the 1990s was directly drawn from the underground. Through identification of the national geologic and mining department, its degree of mineralization is 650 and it contains a variety of microelements: 0.12 mg K, 0.99 mg Sr, 0.13 mg Zn, 35.55 mg Mg, 0.5 mg Br, 62.68 mg Ca and 76 mg H2Si03 per liter.
Reason for Spring Formation
According to modern geologists, springs in Jinan originate from the mountains in the southern urban area of the city. Atmospheric precipitations seep underground and flow northwards along the rock stratum slope, and are blocked by intruded rock masses in the urban area and gush out due to pressure, thus forming springs. The mountains in the southern area of Jinan are part of Taishan Mountain, including medium-sized mountain, low mountain and hill from south to north. When it spreads to the urban area, it is the junction of the declining plain before the hill and the alluvial plain of the Yellow River, with an altitude difference of over 500 meters. This kind of terrain declining from south to north makes the surface water and groundwater gather in the urban area. With respect to geological structure, the southern mountain belongs to the north wing of Taishan Mountain, being a single gently declining structure. Since its northern part is broken into pieces, including that of Qianfoshan Mountain graben, a tectonic foundation for the springs in the urban area. The Sinian metamorphic rocks form the basement, distributed with Cambrian and Ordovician limestone rock formations as thick as over 1,000 meters. The rock formations tilt northwards with the angle of inclination ranging 3 to 15 degrees. They are buried beneath the quaternary sediments in the urban area. In the long geological ages, these soluble limestones, through several tectonic movements and long-term erosion, formed large numbers of karrens, dissolved pores, karst caves and underground rivers, jointly establishing an underground road network able to store and transport groundwater. The northern urban area is Yanshan gabbro—intrusive body of diorite, fine and hard with good impermeable performance. There is also Qianfoshan Mountain fault passing through Weiyi Road in the west, Yangtouyu fault passing through Jiefang Bridge and Old East Gate in the east, thus forming rock masses blocking water flow in the east, west and north.
The southern mountainous area absorbs, at the places with exposed limestones and karst fissures, large amounts of rainfall and surface runoffs, which seep underground and form abundant karst water. Blocked by Archaeozoic melamorphic rocks, the water flows northwards along the rock stratum slope and forms subsurface flows, which, however, are blocked by intruded rock masses and faults and thus gather and move upward, promoting the karst development and raising the water level. Under the strong hydrostatic pressure, the groundwater passes through karst fissures and gushes out at the junctions of limestones and intruded rock masses as well as the weak points of the quaternary sedimentary layer, forming natural springs.
Rainfall and seasonal change directly affect the springs. Jinan has a warm temperate monsoon climate, with an average annual precipitation of 650 to 700 mm. Due to summer monsoon, two thirds of rainfall is concentrated in the summer, less than one fifth in autumn and a very small proportion in winter and spring. The specific seasonal precipitations are: 86.9 mm in spring (March to May), 448.2 mm in summer (June to August), 124.9 mm in autumn (September to November) and 25.2 mm in winter (December to February). With the seasonal change in precipitation, i.e. “less-more-less”, the spring water level and flow show according changes, i.e. “low-high-low” and “small-big-small”. However, these changes appear later than the seasonal change in precipitation. Usually, the spring change starts from the beginning of the year, with the flow gradually reduced. The smallest flow and lowest water level appear in June. In July, with the increase of rainfall, the flow begins to increase. The largest flow and highest water level emerge in August and September. Generally, the more the annual precipitation is, bigger the spring flow and higher the water level will be in the year; if the annual precipitation is small, the spring flow and water level will be small and low accordingly in the year.
Springs in Jinan are karstic spring. Development of large karstic springs and spring group is one of the salient natural geographical and hydrogeological characteristics in the temperate karst areas in northern China. The springs and spring groups in Jinan, with numerous spring spots, abundant water, high quality and spectacular gushing views, become typical representatives of the karstic spring in China. Over 800 spring spots are dotted throughout Jinan, making its landscape fresh and charming.
Jinan City is located in the junction of mountainous area in central Shandong and the plain in north Shandong. The Yellow River and Small Qinghe River are also at the junction of mountainous and hilly area and plain. The areas along the Yellow River and south of Small Qinghe River are mainly related to the formation of the springs in Jinan. These areas belong to the northern part of Taishan Mountain; and the main part and the highest peak Jade Emperor Peak (1,532 m) of Taishan Mountain are to the south of these areas. Due to the geological structure pattern, the terrain of Jinan descends from the south to the north and southwest. The southern mountainous area has an altitude of 800-988 meters, but the altitude declines to 50-20 meters in the urban areas of Jinan-Zhangqiu City in front of the mountainous area. The terrain of Pingyin in the southwest is the extension of Taishan Mountain, 400-100 meters above the sea level, with the piedmont over 90 meters above the sea level. Overall, the area in Jinan City south of the Yellow River is a slope descending from 800-900 meters high to 90-20 meters high.
The landform of Jinan City south of the Yellow River is mainly divided into low eroded mountains with medium and small undulations, eroded hills and plain. The low eroded mountains with medium and small fluctuations have an altitude of over 500 meters and a fluctuation height (referring to the altitude difference between the peak or mountain ridge and the adjacent river valley or the bottom of the mountain valley) ranging from 500 to 200 meters; the eroded hills are less than 500 meters above the sea level; and the plain mainly refers to the area between the piedmont of southern mountainous area and the Small Qinghe River and Yellow River, formed for many reasons.
Rivers in Jinan are subject to the Yellow River and Small Qinghe River, whose trunk streams both traverse the northern urban area of Jinan. Due to siltation of the Yellow River, the so-called “ground river” is formed. Therefore, although the urban area of Jinan and Zhangqiu City are close to the Yellow River, they belong to the Small Qinghe River Basin. The southern part of Licheng District, Changqing District and Pingyin County belong to the Yellow River Basin. The watershed between the Yufu River and the Small Qinghe River is the most important river boundary in the area, also the watershed between the Yellow River Basin and the Small Qinghe River Basin, extending from the Sijieshou Mountain east of the Zaolin Village in Licheng District in the south to Mulizhuang in the northwest via Lizi Village, Heilongyu, Xinglong Mountain, Dajiangou, Dangjiazhuang and Wangfuzhuang.
Sound karst aquifers, complete groundwater convergence and enrichment system and favorable conditions for groundwater exposure combined bring about diverse spring views, fine in both quantity and quality. The dynamic characteristic of spring water is the result of combined action of natural conditions and human factors. In particular today with rapid economic and social development, the evolution of spring groups more sensitively reflects the close relationship between human activities and natural sights.