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World Natural Heritage: China Danxia

Editor: zhenglimin 丨CCTV.com

07-08-2015 16:46 BJT


Danxia can be defined at the geological and geomorphic level as a kind of landform above thick sediments of down-faulted basins located at the edge of the active continental plates in the Western Pacific. They are mainly composed of red sandstones and conglomerates, and reflect the depositional environment of oxidized lacustrine basins. These deposit layers shaped the peaks, cliffs and canyons and other wonderful landscapes with great scenic beauty after experiencing regional crustal uplifts, severe fractures, the in-depth water cutting and erosion, block movements, weathering and dissolution. China’s Danxia landforms contain a series of landscapes from ones in their immature stage with subtle topographical features and undeveloped sapping, to ones in the mature stage with mazy peaks and well-developed valleys. There are also ones which are in the veteran stage and is characterized by isolated peaks surrounded by a wide range of lowlands and extensive river systems.

More than 780 Danxia landforms have been discovered in China so far. They are widely distributed in the tropical zone, subtropical humid areas, temperate and sub-humid areas, semi-arid and arid areas, and the cold areas of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. International research data shows that red beds are widely distributed on all continents around the world except on Antarctica, and they have developed into same or similar geomorphic types with China’s Danxia landforms. Therefore, Danxia is a special natural and geographical phenomena and a kind of red bed landform with global significance.

Values of China’s Danxia landscape

Outstanding natural heritage values

China’s Danxia landforms integrate geological diversity, landscape diversity, biological diversity and rare landscapes, and its outstanding natural heritage value is as follows:

A) The Danxia landforms recorded the geological history of fault basins located in the southern China continental crust of the Eurasian Plate during the Cretaceous period of the Mesozoic era, as well as the history of ancient geography and climate change since then. It also shows important evidence of major geological events such as continental volcanic eruptions and the salt lake sediments under the hot and dry climate during the early Cretaceous period, as well as the sand accumulation, dinosaur extinction, and the basin uplift and crustal deformation;

B) They possess the most intensive and porcelain landscape among the world’s humid Danxia (red bed) landscapes;

C) They possess various typical and prominent rare and endangered species, as well as their habitats;

D) They can provide a history of humans adapting to the natural environment, and proved the harmonious coexistence between man and nature;

E) They are a series that is well protected and managed by the central and local governments.

Comparative values in the world

China’s Danxia landforms are currently the only world natural heritage site nominated within the Danxia series. Its overall scientific value, aesthetic value and ecological value exceed any existing world natural and mixed heritage sites with Danxia (red bed) landforms as its elements, and it cannot be replaced by any heritage site. The universality of the world’s red beds and the diversity of its formation time and the spatial distribution all show that China’s Danxia landforms is an indispensable and important part of the world’s red bed landscapes and the development of Danxia landscapes. China’s Danxia landforms possess the Danxia (red bed) landscape region with the best deployment of mountains, bodies of water and forests among the existing world heritage sites. Therefore, China’s Danxia landforms are the most typical and beautiful outstanding representative of Danxia landforms with various ecological environments and the best landscape configuration.

China’s Danxia landforms possess more prominent scientific value, aesthetic value and better ecological environment value compared with other world heritage sites involving Danxia (red bed) landforms. The Danxia culture formed by Danxia landforms as its carrier is focused more on the harmony between man and nature and reflects an outstanding universal value of landscape culture with world significance.

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