The Story of Tahan River Part I

As residents of Taiwan, have you ever noticed the stretches of continuous terraces on the banks of the Tahan River? Viewing downstream at a vantage point at the Shimen Reservoir, the graceful symmetry exhibited by the rows of stepped terraces in approximate heights is breath-taking evidence on the mysteries of nature.
Besides forming beautiful sceneries, these river terraces brought economic prosperity.  Water is a ready resource on these terraces, rendering the flat-lying fertile land highly suitable for agriculture.  During those earlier days while the canal systems were navigable, the bumper crops were shipped via the canals to Taipei Basin for good prices. These laid the foundation for the economic prosperity of the ancient towns of Daxi, Yingge and Sanxia.
In addition, these terraces narrate long unending geologic stories; they manifest an unbroken chain of rejuvenation of the Tahan River. Can you imagine that these historic tales include the formation of the Taipei Basin due to fault collapse process? Or do you know that stream piracy gave birth to new life to the Tahan River, the river that originates from the Xueshan Mountain Range, through shifting to a new course to quietly enter the Taipei Basin rather than emptying into the sea following its old terraced channel in Taoyuan? As the reels of films roll, we stand to witness the story of Tahan River and the course of formation that gave it its new-borne life. 


NTU Digital Archives of Geosciences Department
National Taiwan University