INTRIGUES OF THE ILLUSIVE YANGTZE SOURCE (32°36'14"N 94°30'44"E)

The source of the Yangtze fascinated but eluded generations of Chinese living along the lower reaches of the river. Western explorers of the 19th and 20th Century also found it illusive. Up until the Ming Dynasty in the 14th to 17th Century, the river was thought to originate from the Min River of Sichuan. It was the Ming scholar explorer Xu Xiake (1587-1641) who successfully traced the upper reaches to the Jinsha River, the correct upper tributary of the Yangtze. Geographers in the Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) further identified the Tongtian He which flows into the Jinsha. It wasn’t until 1976 that PRC geographers defined the Yangtze source as originating from Tuotuohe high up in western Qinghai Province.

However, this finding was still erroneous. Wong How Man and CERS made multiple attempts and finally defined what is now recognized as the scientific, geographic and officially accepted source of the mighty Yangtze River, third longest river in the world.

32°36'14"N 94°30'44"E, 5,170 m above sea level, 13:15 15 June 2005

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YANGTZE RIVER - EXPEDITION TO THE SOURCE

NEW AND LONGER YANGTZE SOURCE DISCOVERED

Wong How Man
27 June 2005

At 1:15pm (China time) on June 15, members of a scientific expedition organized by the China Exploration & Research Society arrived at a new and longer source of the Yangtze River in southern Qinghai province on the Tibetan plateau. The location is southwest of Zha Duo Country at an elevation of 5,170 meters with coordinates of N32˚36’14” E94˚30’44.” Vetaran explorer Wong How Man – who made his first pioneering discovery at the Yangtze source region in 1985 as leader of a National Geographic Expedition – led the team.

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