South China Karst
The karst topography in the southern part of China mainly exists in three areas, including Shilin Yi Autonomous Country of Yunnan Province, Libo County of Guizhou Province and Wulong County of Chongqing City. And the Stone Forest in Shilin County has been designated by the National Tourism Administration as one of the AAAA scenic spots, the highest level of tourist attractions in China. On June 27th, 2008, it was chosen by an unanimous vote to be one of the World Natural Heritages by the UNESCO on the thirty-first World Heritage Conference. Consist of mainly carbonates such as limestones and dolostone, the karst topography existing in the southern part of China is characterized by large distributions, various landforms, typical structures and abundant ecological systems and life-forms.
In the above-mentioned three counties, the most representative karst landforms in China are all included, and many of the scenic spots here enjoy both national and world popularity. The Stone Forest in Yunnan Province is famous for its grandeur, oddness, steepness, elegance, quietness, mysteriousness and wilderness, therefore it has also been nicknamed 'the essence of karst topography in the whole world'. Libo County of Guizhou Province is mainly inhabited by minority groups including the Buyi, the Shui, the Miao and the Yao nationalities. The big forest here has been listed as one of the most beautiful forests in China. Well-known scenic spots in Wulong County of Chongqing City include Furong Cave which is called the No.1 Cave under Heaven, the biggest group of natural bridges in Asia, and Houping Tiankeng, which is a big karst pit on the ground and which has been rarely seen in the entire world.
The Karst Topography of Libo County, Guizhou Province
The karst geomorphy here is mainly distributed in the southeastern part of the county, and it is a typical example of cone karst topography existing in the transitional belt from Guizhou Plateau to Guangxi Basin. The ecological system in Libo County has been very well protected and the karst park here is now the most probable Chinese natural scenic spot that could be listed on the World Natural Heritage list. As a result of its great value, the karst topography of this county has been considered to be a typical representative of South China Karst.
The Karst Topography of Wulong County, Chongqing City
Under the jurisdiction of Chongqing Municipality, Wulong County is situated on the southeastern edge of Sichuan Basin. It is on the transitional belt between Dalei Mountain, Wuling Mountain and Guizhou Plateau. Wujiang River, which is a tributary of the Yangtze River on the southern bank, flows across this area. Because of dense distributions of carbonates, sandstones and shales, karst topography has been formed in this area. In the past billions of years, the unique karst environment here has created many wonderful natural landscapes which are of high esthetic values. These treasures gifted by the great nature, not only belong to China, but also belong to all the human beings in the whole world.
The Karst Topography in Shilin County, Yunnan Province
Located on the backland of East Yunnan Plateau, Shilin Yi Autonomous County is about seventy kilometers from Kunming City, the capital of the province. This county is extraordinarily famous for the Stone Forest, which is a famous karst scenic spot. With a low latitude, this area has a subtropical alpine monsoon climate, and it is neither hot in summer nor cold in winter. It is just like spring all through the year and the average annual temperature is around sixteen degrees Celsius. The Stone Forest has been explored and constructed to be a large comprehensive tourist area combing natural sights, ethical folkways and customs, vacation and leisure facilities, and scientific and research zones.
As the first trans-provincial programme in China to bid for the World Natural Heritage, South China Karst has been existed for quite a long geographical age. As a unique and important type of geomorphy on the earth, it has not only preserved the old karst relics from billions of years ago, but also represented the most important and on-going karst process in the world now. Therefore they are of high visual and geographical values
I updated this article on June 14, 2012
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