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Fuzhou “Yu Quan”: Warning From Chinese Ancient to the Exploitation of Geothermal Resources in Contemporary China


Although China's emphasis on the development and utilization of geothermal resources was developed from twenty-first Century, even before the Tang Dynasty in Fuzhou, traditional Chinese medicines have used geothermal resources to cure skin diseases. Ancient Chinese people used to call hot spring water the “Yu Quan”, which means springs hids the secret of fire. With the passage of time, more “Yu Quan” was discovered and put into use, so the ancient Chinese diverted the water at temperatures of thirty-five to forty degrees through a stone culvert into bathrooms for people to take a shower and treat a disease with the help of the ingredients in “Yu Quan”. However, with the demand of spring water increasing and the method of exploitation and utilization falling behind, the number of natural springs sweltering decreased in the early part of the 20th century. In 1960s, due to the lack of exploration of underground reservoir structure of geothermal resources and excessive artificial sinking mining, “Yu Quan” nearly disappeared in Fuzhou basin. Excessive use of Yu Quan in Fuzhou is a negative example of the ancient Chinese exploitation of geothermal resources. In China, the exploitation of geothermal resources, especially the exploitation of oil associated geothermal resources, need to consider specific character of the stratum development. We need pay attention to the recharge of the groundwater so as to reduce the impact on the environment. China has abundant geothermal resources, which is a kind of clean renewable resources used for power generation, heavy oil production and so on. But when we enjoy the convenience of geothermal resources, we should bear the ancient Chinese warning about “Yu Quan” in mind.