An Ancient Forest World Has Been Discovered Underneath A Sinkhole In China

Deep beneath the surface of China, a breathtaking discovery has come to light – a massive ancient forest hidden 630 feet below ground within a sinkhole. This extraordinary find was stumbled upon by a team of cave-exploring scientists in May of the previous year in a designated Chinese ‘Geopark’. Referred to as ‘tiankeng’ or ‘heavenly pits’ in the local language, these sinkholes are a natural geological phenomenon.

The particular Geopark where this discovery occurred is the Leye Fengshan UNESCO Global Geopark, situated in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of southwestern China. Characterized by its sedimentary composition, the Geopark primarily consists of layers of rock that have built up over thousands of years, with over 60% of the rock being Devonian to Permian carbonate formations.

The Geopark is renowned for its distinctive landscape, featuring an extensive array of caves and even boasting the world’s longest natural bridge. This underground wonderland is formed by the dissolution of limestone bedrock due to groundwater flow, which results in the creation of enormous sinkholes. This natural process is quite common in this region.

However, what sets this discovery apart is the intact primitive forest within the sinkhole. Unlike anything else found in these sinkholes, this forest harbors the potential for new, previously undiscovered plant and animal species. Researchers have been astonished by the unique ecosystem that has managed to thrive despite the subterranean conditions.

Stretching 306 meters in length, 150 meters in width, and plunging to a depth of 192 meters, this sinkhole is indeed a colossal cavity. With a volume exceeding 5 million cubic meters, it unquestionably qualifies as a large sinkhole by official standards. It’s an environment of extraordinary proportions that was accessed by a team of explorers through a combination of rappelling over 100 meters and hours of trekking.

The dense foliage within the sinkhole reaches shoulder height, creating an almost primeval ambiance. Ancient trees tower up to nearly 40 meters in height, showcasing the incredible tenacity of life within this unexpected realm. The Geopark’s karst terrain, formed through the dissolving of limestone over time, allowed for the unique conditions that permitted the forest to flourish, making it a truly exceptional discovery in the world of underground ecosystems.

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