URUMQI, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Two geothermal fields have been identified on the Pamir Plateau in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, after an eight-year survey.
One field at Quman village in Tashkurgan Tajik Autonomous County, covers eight square kilometers, said Wang Hong, deputy chief engineer of the regional department of land and resources.
"Analysis of geological structure, temperature and pressure show that the Quman field can promise stable yields for more than 100 years," Wang said.
Geothermal resources are generally used for heating water and greenhouses, for generating electricity and in health spas.
Another field covering seven square kilometers of low-temperature geothermal resources was also found in the county, suitable for hot spring therapy and leisure pursuits.
Tashkurgan on the Pamir Plateau endures long, harsh winters. The local government usually imports coal from Urumqi, Xinjiang's capital, and Aksu Prefecture at high cost. Winter heating has always been a heavy burden for residents.
In 2010 Xinjiang began to explore geothermal resources in Tashkurgan, spending 48 million yuan (7 million U.S. dollar) on the search.
The department estimates that the Quman field could provide heating for 12,000 residents, reducing heating costs 30 million yuan each year.
Hot springs in the low-temperature field could become a profitable tourist resort, creating jobs for residents and opportunities for local entrepreneurs.