Researchers Found a World Class Geological Wonder in China

Researchers Found a World Class Geological Wonder in China

The enormity of a sinkhole in China is the thing what makes it a world-class site for all the geologists of the world.

Earth offers an amazing display of nature’s beauty with all the magnificent landscapes around the globe. From snow-capped peaks to crystal clear streams and from lush green mountains to deep blue oceans, all of them are simply a treat for our aesthetics as they are overwhelmingly soothing for our souls. In addition to these beautiful sceneries, humanity has also found some mysterious places on the surface of our planet like the Crooked Forest in Poland, the Great Blue Hole, and the Easter Island in Chile. This list of weird yet fascinating places of the world might have a new entrant as the researchers found a tremendous cave hall complex under the ground in the forest of Guangxi.

The geologists from China and the United Kingdom joined forces to explore a ‘Tiankeng’, the Chinese name for an unusually large sinkhole. Andy Eavis, the Chairman of the British Caving Association, and Zhang Yuanhai, an Expert from the Institute of Karst Geology of the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences, led this expedition. A total of 19 members lowered themselves into the sinkhole and mapped the interior. Interestingly, they used only a single rope to enter the cave. Yuanhai talked about the key points of their expedition in the following words:

This giant cave hall was actually discovered by the Hong Kong expedition last year, so it was named Hong Kong·Haiting Hall. This time we mainly determined its volume and world-class status through three-dimensional scanning.”

According to the results published by the geological experts, the cave is enormous, to say the least with a volume of about 6.7 million cubic meters. Similarly, they found that the pit of the sinkhole is nearly 200 meters long, 100 meters wide, and 118 meters deep. The massive cave complex is located towards the southeast end of the pit. Scientists found stone pillars, collapsed rocks, halls, corridors, and a special type of formation called ‘Cave Pearls’. These are small, round stones that are polished smooth by water and are resting peacefully in the crannies of the cave.

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In addition to that, a shaft was found in the large cave hall which connects to an underground river which ultimately falls into the Panyang River. The researching team used 3D scanning to extract as much information out of the sinkhole as possible. Yuanhai explained that they were able to reconstruct the collapse of the sinkhole by saying,

Three-dimensional scanning found that Hong Kong·Haiting Hall has retained a lot of evidence of the collapse of the crater evolution, especially the traces of rock mechanics produced after the collapse, which are clearly visible, demonstrating the evolutionary characteristics of this Tiankeng.

Tiankengs are generally formed as a result of the slow erosion, caused by geological forces, which leads to a collapse of an underground cavern. For instance, the largest sinkhole in the world called the Xiaozhai Tiankeng (Heavenly Pit) was formed by the erosion of a powerful underground river. Yuanhai acknowledged that it is very much possible that this sinkhole was made the same way. He said,

These giant caves are natural caves, most of which are caused by collapses and are related to underground rivers. The formation of all caves is not a one-step process. They basically have a history of more than 2 million years.”

You can enjoy some of the breathtaking views of this world-class sinkhole:


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