Aerial view of Danxia Mountain (Photo/CGTN)
Shaoguan City in the north of Guangdong Province is well-known for its Danxia Mountain geopark. Its unique geographical features and spectacular rock formations have attracted tourists from around the world.
Characterized by its red cliffs, Danxia Mountain got its name in Chinese from its unique color. But it's more famous for the so-called Danxia landform. Around 140 million years ago, this region was just a basin surrounded by hills. Floods and rivers brought down gravels to this basin, where they were gradually deposited. With the hot conditions, the sediments later turned into a set of red sandstones. After that, the erosion of water and gravity uplifted the land, and created the present geographical features.
View of Danxia Mountain (Photo/CGTN)
UNESCO Global Geopark's evaluation expert Chen Fang says: "One Chinese poem wrote 'when you look at the mountain from the front, it's like a range. But when you look at it sideways, it's like a peak.' The formation of these walls is like nature cutting a big cake into slices. The flabby parts of the rocks collapsed whereas the solid parts remained."
Discovered by geologists 80 years ago, the area now contains more than 680 stone peaks, fortresses, walls, pillars and bridges. Many of the rock formations take the shapes of human bodies, birds and other animals.
For those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, Shaoguan Danxia Mountain is a great choice.
There are a number of temples located on the mountains and many scenic walks can be undertaken. There is also a river winding through the mountains on which boat trips can be taken.(Photo/CGTN)
With relatively easy trekking, tourists can enjoy the numerous sandstone rock formations like the Male Genital Rock and Female Cave, as well as other spectacular views of the scenery.
The park was listed as one of the first global geoparks in 2004. It was listed as a world natural heritage in 2010. Chen says while boosting tourism is important, ecological protection and scientific research remain the park's priorities.
"For instance, 70 million years ago, a large number of dinosaurs lived in this area. Fossils of their eggs and bones can be found in the surrounding areas of the Danxia basin. Therefore the park helps scientists to better understand what had happened during that period of time, and enables the study of paleoclimate changes," says Chen.
Plants in the Danxia Mountain geopark (Photo/CGTN)
Chen says the park is a treasure for mankind. She hopes more people could come experience this natural wonder and more importantly, gain some knowledge about the history of our planet.