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World Natural Heritage: China Danxia

Editor: zhenglimin 丨CCTV.com

07-08-2015 16:46 BJT

 

Brief introduction to China’s Danxia sites

The six sites of China’s Danxia landforms are all distributed in China’s subtropical humid zone and the main reasons for their selection are as follows:

(1) China’s Danxia landforms in the humid zone (especially the peak cluster Danxia landforms in southeastern China) closely combine mountains, forests and water together to form China’s even the world’s most spectacular, most attractive, and most colorful Danxia landscapes. Although Chishui is located in southwestern China, it is also located in the Northern Guizhou-Southern Sichuan Danxia landform, the largest continuous distribution area of China’s Danxia landforms. It can also well represent the combination of plateau, canyons, waterfalls and forests into Danxia landscapes.

(2) The nominations represent the different stages of Danxia landform evolution. Every nomination site has typical and distinct landforms from different evolutionary phases. These nomination sites jointly show a comprehensive, complete and logical Danxia landscape and landscape series in southeastern China.

(3) The nomination sites are all located in conservation areas where the most in-depth research of China’s Danxia landforms were launched. These nomination sites have a well protected traditional and solid academic foundation, and have become ideal regions for promoting the development of the science, education and tourism industries, as well as the sustainable conservation and utilization of natural resources.

Chishui is a typical representation of Danxia geological evolution in the early stages among China’s Danxia landform nomination sites that had applied for World Natural Heritage. Chishui is located in China’s largest Danxia distribution region in the junction of the Sichuan Basin and the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau. The intense uplift of the plateau and the severe regressive erosion of water caused a dramatic contrast of landforms.

It developed the most typical ladder-type valley and the most spectacular Danxia waterfalls, and has become the representative of a plateau-canyon Danxia landscape in its early development stages. The nomination site maintains the most complete and representative forest ecosystem and biodiversity in the middle subtropical zone and formed Danxia landscapes that combines water, waterfalls, mountains and forests. It also meets the standards (VII), (VIII), (IX) and (X) for selecting world natural heritage.

Taining is a typical representation of a Danxia landform into early geological evolution stage among China’s Danxia landform nominations that applied for World Natural Heritage. The Taining Basin witnessed the evolutionary history of the mobile belt located at the edge of southern China eastern continental plate since the Cretaceous period. Its Danxia landscape includes clear ancient denudation plains which were divided into fractured original surfaces of hills by dense canyons and lane valleys.

The unique cliff caves, the intensive deep meandering gorges and rivers, and the original valley ecosystem formed rare natural features. Therefore, this region has become the representative of a low-elevation canyon Danxia landform in its early evolutionary stage. It closely combines the jet streams in the canyon and the intense peaks to form beautiful landscapes and it has also preserved the original ecological environment and its biological and ecological diversity. Taining meets the standards (VII), (VIII) and (IX) for selecting world natural heritage.

Mount Langshan is a typical representation of a Danxia landform in the early mature stages of its geological evolution among China’s Danxia landform nominations that applied for World Natural Heritage. Mount Langshan is located in the junction between the southern China plate and the Yangtze plate, which is also the transition zone of Chinese II and III terrain ladders. It experienced a number of intermittent crustal uplifts. Mount Langshan is characterized by its intensive domed Danxia peaks which look like 10,000 shoots of bamboo shooting into the sky or 10,000 horses galloping forward. Its lane valleys, line valleys and natural bridges are grand in scale and its Danxia karst is unique.

The vegetation "ecological island effect" and the habitat narrow endemism are prominent, making Mount Langshan the representative of the most complete regional co-evolution of plants and animals among the Danxia plant succession series. Its Danxia landscape possesses rare natural beauty and original properties. It is the representative of a peak forest landform in its mature evolutionary stage and the model site of the major types and basic characteristics of Danxia landscapes among the nomination sites. It also meets the standards (VII), (VIII) and (IX) for selecting world natural heritage.

Mount Danxia is a typical representation of a Danxia landform in the post adolescent stages of its geological evolution among China’s Danxia landform nominations that applied for World Natural Heritage. Mount Danxia developed in the tectonic basin, which is located at the central area of the fold belt at Nanling. It is diversified in terms of monomeric types and unique in terms of geomorphologic landscapes, and is the model for main types and essential features of Danxia landforms.

Furthermore, Mount Danxia is a representative of a tufted peak-cluster Danxia landform in its middle and late periods of its prime. It has the most tropical species and the most prominent features of valleys and rain forests. It is the model area for studying Danxia biological filiation, solitary and the tropical island effect among Danxia landforms. Mount Danxia is in line with the standards (VII) (VIII) (IX) (X) for selecting world natural heritage.

Mount Longhu is a typical representation of a Danxia landform in the early stages of its late geological evolution among China’s Danxia landform nominations that applied for World Natural Heritage. The Xinjiang Basin, where Mount Longhu is located, was witness to the important geological evolution of the Cretaceous Period, as well as the volcanic activities in the Early Cretaceous Epoch, the deposit of gypsum-salt and the accumulation of sand blown by the wind, and the extinction of the dinosaurs. Its prominent etched features combine the remnant peak clusters, hoodoos, isolated peaks and hills, making it a representative of a scattered hoodoo and broad valley Danxia landform in the early stages of its late development. There are subtropical evergreen forests which grow in the lower altitudes and, it is also the vital habitat of important endangered species. The numerous ancient hanging coffins in the caves off the cliff subtly combined with the cultural landscapes of the ancestor court of China’s Taoism forms a beautiful scene. Mount Longhu is in line with the standards (VII) (VIII) (X) for selecting world natural heritage.

Mount Jianglang is a typical representation of a Danxia landform in the late stages of its geological evolution among China’s Danxia landform nominations that applied for World Natural Heritage. The Xiakou Basin, where Mount Jianglang is located, is a tectonic basin developed on a fault zone. The red bed consists of hard Fangyan Formation tephra which is the material that safeguards the existing isolated stones on Mount Jianglang. Rocks with different resistances to erosion are prominent isolated peaks as etched by different elements. Most of the landform’s bottom areas are denudated surfaces in ancient times.

In addition to the isolated peaks, the geomorphic features on Mount Jinglang also include narrow alleys and valleys and big stone walls, which is close to being vertical. Mount Jianglang is in the late stages of its evolutionary development. The three isolated stones, which are located on the ancient denudated surface about 500 meters above sea level, tell of old age, and a scientific story about the high residual erosion and isolated Danxia landforms. Mount Jianglang is in line with the standards (VII) (VIII) for selecting world natural heritage.

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