They find in China a giant sinkhole with a forest inside. Species unknown to science could be hiding in this gaping hole.
A team of Chinese scientists have discovered a massive new sinkhole with a forest at the bottom.
The chasm is 192 m deep, according to the Xinhua news agency. A team of speleologists and speleologists excavated the sinkhole on Friday May 6 and discovered that there were three cave entrances to the sinkhole, as well as 40m high ancient trees that spread their branches in the light of the sunlight filtering through the sump entrance.
The discovery comes as no surprise, as southern China is home to karst topography, a landscape prone to spectacular otherworldly sinkholes and caves.
Karst landscapes are mainly formed by the dissolution of bedrock. Rainwater, which is slightly acidic, absorbs carbon dioxide as it passes through the soil, making it more acidic. It then drips, rushes and flows through bedrock cracks, gradually widening them into tunnels and various eggs. Over time, if an underground chamber becomes large enough, the ceiling can gradually collapse, opening up huge chasms.
Due to local differences in geology, climate and other factors, the way karst appears on the surface can be dramatically different. So, in China, there is an incredibly spectacular karst, with huge chasms and giant cave entrances. In other parts of the world, you walk through the karst and you don’t notice anything. The sinkholes can be quite inconspicuous, only a meter or two in diameter. Entrances to caves can be very small, so you have to squeeze through them.
The new discovery took place in the Zhuang Autonomous Region of Guangxi, near the village of Ping’e in Leye County, according to Xinhua. Guangxi is known for its fabulous karst formations, which range from sinkholes to rock pillars to natural bridges, and have earned the region UNESCO World Heritage Site status.
The interior of the chasm is 306 m long and 150 m wide. The Mandarin word for these huge chasms is “tiankeng” or “heavenly pit”, and the bottom of the chasm indeed looked like another world. The dense undergrowth at the bottom of the chasm is as high as a person’s shoulders. Karst caves and sinkholes can be an oasis for life.
There may be species that have never been discovered by science until now.
The new discovery brings the number of sinkholes in Leye County to 30. The same researchers had previously discovered dozens of sinkholes in China’s northwest Shaanxi province and a cluster of interconnected sinkholes in Guangxi.
Giant sinkhole with a forest inside discovered in China | living sciences