Unveiling The Subterranean Realm: Journeying Into An Expansive Sinkhole Enveloped By An Ancient Forest, A Potential Sanctuary For Unexplored Species – Amazing Nature

Cave explorers stumbled across a prehistoric forest at the bottom of a giant sinkhole in South China earlier this month. Such sinkholes are also known in Chinese as Tiankeng, or “Heaven Hole”.

This is one of the sinkholes, or often referred to as the largest sinkhole in Leye district, with a length of about 306m, 150m wide and 192m high. At the bottom of the pit there was an ancient forest nearly three football fields long, with trees over 100 meters tall. And according to the Chinese government, it is one of 30 giant sinkholes in the country.

Huge sinkhole in China. (Photo: Live Science).

The sinkhole was discovered by cave explorers outside the village of Ping’e in Leye County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, South China. A group of explorers went down to the hole on May 6, where they found ancient trees and other plants, according to a Guangxi news release.

According to geological engineer Zhang Yuanhai of Karst Geology Institute, this sinkhole has three separate caves on the wall and at the bottom is a primitive forest. The team of geologists took hours to go from the ground to the bottom and said that there are many types of plants below, they also think it is very likely that new species of plants and animals will be discovered here.

The sinkhole has a depth of 192m. (Photo: Live Science).

Mysterious sinkhole in China

This area is identified as a karst terrain, a geological form prone to sinkholes or underground caves. The reason is that this geology is created by the dispersion of the bedrock, along with that because the rain water here has a higher amount of acid than other places, creating a high amount of carbon dioxide and gradually seeping into the ground, emptying the soil. gradually. At a certain point, the void in the soil is large enough to lead to the collapse of the soil, creating the sinkholes we know.

Karst is a landform, ideal for geological wonders like the sinkhole in Leye County, created by groundwater dissolving limestone below the surface, according to the United States Geological Survey. About 20% of the United States is made up of karst landscapes, which include attractions like Carlsbad Cave in New Mexico and Mammoth Cave in Kentucky.

The trees are about 100m high under the sinkhole. (Photo: Live Science).

According to NASA, about 13% of China is covered by karst terrain, with the Guangxi region being a prime example of its beauty.

George Veni, executive director of the National Institute of Cave and Karst Research, told Live Science the landscapes vary in size and shape depending on the surrounding climate.

There are about 30 giant sinkholes in China. (Photo: Live Science).

Veni said: “In China, there’s a huge limestone region with huge sinkholes and huge cave entrances. In other parts of the world, you step out of the limestone and you really didn’t notice anything. The sinkholes can be quite hidden, only a meter or two in diameter. The entrances to the caves can be very small, so you have to try to find your way into them.”

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