Thursday, January 13, 2011

Past and Present: A Bird's Eye Revelation of the Effects of Limestone Quarrying

It is often a treat for historians and history buffs when old postcards depicting scenes from a specific street may be compared to its modern self using a modern day picture with a similar angle of photography. Such a treat, it seems, is no longer exclusively reserved for the History academia.

Recent updates in the highly accessible Google Earth has intrigued me to revisit one my my previous subject-the quarrying of the Panching Karst Formation. True to the words of my previous post, little has changed for the temple-occupied Bukit Charas while its sister mountains, Bukit Panching, Bukit Sagu and Bukit Tenggek became the antithesis.

The following is a list of comparative images taken over a 7-year gap whereby on the former is a 2003 image while on the later is a 2010 image:

Bukit Charas


Bukit Panching

As described previously, this already-disappeared hill is now a deep lake surrounded by a marble wasteland.

Bukit Sagu

Unfortunately for this hill, the view of its descruction is shrouded by overhead clouds. However, there is no doubt it has suffered much damage given that cement extraction has not abated at all.

Bukit Tenggek

Perhaps the most obvious of the changes that quarries have on the Panching Karsts System lies in this limestone massif, which is now broken up into two parts by the blasting of its central section.

Either way, one thing is for sure-given that it takes about 7 years to reduce Bukit Tenggek by half its original size, it may be only a decade before the hill ends up as another "Bukit Panching"; and definitely the same fate will befall upon the larger Bukit Sagu the following decade.

1.Schilthuizen J.J. and Clements R. (2008) Tracking Land Snail Extinction From Space. TENTACLE 16:8-9 (IUCN/SSC Mollusc specialist group letter)click here


Dreamer said...

Hi SiputKuning,
I would say the same for a hill near Kubang Badak, Langkawi. The Lafarge, a cement factory is flattening a limestone karst nearby. You could see it in Google earth, which is now a "Botak Hill". Thanks to our former PM, Tun Mahathir! So much for Langkawi's Geopark, huh?

Btw, many thanks for putting up the online petition to save Langkawi's rainforest in your blog site.

JK said...

Hi WChinner,

Yes, I am also shocked by the view of a large cement plant situated on this stretch of Northern Langkawi coast enroute my visit to the Kilim Geopark several years back.

Unfortunately, the fact that these hills are excluded from the Geopark zoning makes them the prime target for limestone quarrying on the island.

And given that its proximity to many nature/geology-based tourist attractions, the gaping "hole" in the karsts will sure attract visitors' attention and raises many eyebrows as far as the Geopark island's image is concerned.

As for the petition, I really wished that more people will sign up to protect what's left of Langkawi's natural (and subsequently, economic) asset. Thanks for your encouragement!