The ancient forest world discovered more than 600ft below the surface in huge sinkhole in China
A huge ancient forest world has been discovered 630 feet underground, down a sinkhole in China. The underground mystery was stumbled upon in a Chinese ‘Geopark’ by a cave exploration team of scientists, in May last year. The phenomenon is also known in China as ‘tiankeng’ or ‘heavenly pits.’
Leye Fengshan UNESCO Global Geopark, where the sinkhole was found, is located in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Southwestern China. The Geopark is described on the UNESCO website as ‘primarily sedimentary with more than 60% of 3000m thick Devonian to Permian carbonate rocks.’ It’s known for being ‘the territory of caves and of the world’s longest natural bridge.’ Researchers have said the primitive forest could be home to previously unidentified plant and animal species, reports The Washington Post. Giant sinkholes are not unusual for areas like this in China.
The Chinese governments state-owned news agency, Xinhua, released an official report stating that the new discovery brings the county’s number of sinkholes to 30. Zhang Yuanhai, a senior engineer at the Institute of Karst Geology of the China Geological Survey, also told Xinhua that the site had ‘ a well-preserved primitive forest at the bottom’ and three caves in it’s walls. They added that the sinkhole measures 306m in length, 150m in width and 192m in depth, with its volume exceeding 5 million cubic meters, meaning it can be officially categorised as a large sinkhole.
Chen Lixin, leader of the Guangxi 702 cave expedition team, said the dense shade plants are up to one’s shoulder and said the ancient trees growing at the bottom are nearly 40 meters high. The cave expedition was completed by a team who abseiled down more than 100 meters and ‘trekked several hours to reach the pit’s bottom.’ The landscape in the Geopark is a Karst area of land, meaning it’s made up of limestone.
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