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Rimed Trees, Longtan Mountain, Hotpot and Meteorite Museum

sunny -3 °C
View Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival - Harbin 2014 on Grete Howard's travel map.

I had a really bad night last night, I was awake 51 times having to turn because of a bad back and/or cough. And yes, I did count! With a fever this morning too, the last thing I wanted to do was sightseeing, but I'd come all this way and I wasn't going to miss out on the highlight of Jilin.

It was a two-hour journey along extremely bumpy and slippery roads to Wusong Island, but I still managed to sleep the majority of the time.

Rimed Trees
Known as Tree Hangings and described as “dressed in snow as white as silver”, the rimed trees in Jilin have been named as one of the Four Natural Splendours of China (there is some disagreement as to what the other three are but the general consensus is the mountains and lakes of Guilin, Stone Forest of Yunnan, and Three Gorges of Yangtze River). The trees in question are poplar and willow trees along the banks of the Songhua River, and the key to their rarity and grandeur is “fog at night, ice spike in the morning and falling flowers near the noon.”

The “fog at night” is the mist created by a hydro- electric plant some 15 km from the city, with the river carrying the warm water and creating vapour on its surface. As night time falls and the temperatures drop, the mist continues to rise from the river, becoming thicker and thicker, floating towards both banks of the river.


"Ice spike in the morning "is the rime on the trees early in the morning. Willows branches hang heavy with crystal spikes and pine needles bloom like silver flowers where condensation from the overnight “fog” has vapourised and then frozen, coating the naked branches with ice crystals under the unique geographical environment here.


"Falling flowers near noon” is referring to the warmer daytime air melting the rime creating falling ice spike like silver autumn leaves.

From a technical point of view (I bet you never knew there was so much specialised knowledge about ice crystals!), there are two types of graininess and crystal form of ice spikes – one is light in structure, forming a small ice block. The other – which is what you find here in Jilin – is looser in structure, assuming a large-sized flake.


Rimed trees are big business here, with a large car park and a ferry to take you across to the island. The ferry was operated purely by the power of the water in the river pushing against the paddle, with a wire to stop it floating downstream.


I an so glad we packed our snowchains for our boots, they have come in really handy on this trip and today in particular. Lots of people were sliupping and sliding and falling over on the island, including Alan. Fortunately bot Alan and his camera were OK.


Hotpot Lunch
We stopped for a very early lunch in the middle of nowhere at a hotpot restaurant with private dining rooms which are so popular around these parts. A huge pot with simmering stock is placed in the middle of the table, and you are given pork, beef, mutton and vegetables to cook in the stock. I had no appetite whatsoever, so jut had a few bits merely to taste it.


Dragon Mountain
As I still had a fever and felt like death warmed up, I slept in the car while David and Alan walked up the 260 steps to the top of Dragon Mountain for views over the city.

The Meteorite Museum
In 1976, Jilin experienced a spectacular meteorite shower (the world's largest, covering an area of 500 km²), bringing with it not only the biggest aerolite in the world, weighing 1,775 kg, but at least a further 138 large meteorites. The blare and seismic waves created by the meteorite shower blew out thousands of windows in the city, but miraculously no-one was injured in the commotion whose power equalled that of an A-bomb.

According to scientific research, its composition has placed it to come from a planet in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter and dated it to be around 4.6 billion years old (about the same age as earth). That's pretty ancient, pretty big and pretty darn exciting! Studies also conclude that the meteorite belongs to olivine that is the copper picrite ball meteorite (“whoosh” - that's the sound as this information flew straight over my head, but some of you with larger brains may find it interesting) and is made up of 40 different kinds of minerals which contain 18 elements, Some 8 million years ago it is thought to have bumped against other planets, and blow out of the asteroid cincture to make its way to the surface of the earth.

This is the only meteorite museum in China and has the worlds largest collection of meteorites, introducing you to an overview of the universe, the solar system members, origin of meteorites, the reason behind the Jilin meteorite shower, and researches of meteorite via an abundance of real samples, pictures, diagrams and kinescopes.

The museum was very well laid out, with an audiovisual display of space from reclining chairs. I am sure it would have e fascinating if we'd understood it.


The meteorite was not as large as I had imagined it to be.

As soon as we got back to the room, I went straight to bed and stayed there for the rest of the day/evening/night while David and Alan went for dinner at a BBQ restaurant.

Posted by Grete Howard 15:09 Archived in China

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Sorry to hear that you are not well, hope you feel better soon. Sending lots of love.

by Lyn

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