Xiling Gorge is known for dangerous rapids and numerous shoals, the latter including the Qingtan, Kongling and Xietan shoals. These shoals were formed out of fallen and rock from banks, boulders and sands washed down from the upper reaches, veins protruding from the riverbanks, or reefs jutting out of the riverbed. At some points there are treacherous whirlpools and the waters are extraordinarily turbulent.
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The longest among the Yangtze Gorges, Xiling Gorge stretches west to east for 76 kilometers from the mouth of the Xiangxi River at Zigui in Hubei Province to Nanjing Pass near the city of Yichang in Hubei. It is divided into two sections -- the west section consists of the Military Book and Sword Gorge, the Bull's Liver and Horse's Lung Gorge and Kongling Play Gorge, while the east section features the Shadow Play Gorge and the Yellow Cat Gorge, otherwise known as Yichang Gorge.
The Yangtze River Valley abounds in natural resources, for instance, mountains like Lingyun, Emei, Qingcheng, Hengshan, Shen Nongjia, Wudang, Lushan, Jinggang, Jiuhua, Huangshan and Mogan, rivers like Minjiang, Jialing, Daning, Qingjiang, Xiangjiang, the Grand Canal, and lakes like Dianchi, Dongting, Honghu, Poyang and Taihu, etc.
Xiling Gorge is mainly composed of smaller gorges and dangerous shoals. From west to east, there are four gorges - The Military Books and Precious Sword Gorge (Bingshu Baojian Xia), The Ox and Horse Lungs Gorge (Niugan Mafei Xia), Kongling Gorge, and Lantern Shadow Gorge (Dengying Xia) - and some dangerous shoals such as Qingtan, Xietan, Xintan and Konglingtan. In the past, a great number of boats have sunk here, striking the reefs in the rapid flow of water. Thanks to the Gezhouba Water Conservancy Project, the water now has been calmed to some extent.
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