This enormous sinkhole is a botanical delight, revealing an entirely self-contained ecosystem that has been untouched by humans! Let’s check it out.
A Mystical Sinkhole With An Entire Ecosystem Inside
Sinkholes are often disastrous, but an unexpected limestone cavity in central China's mountainous Hubei province is nothing short of a miracle. A team of scientists have discovered a forest at the bottom! This enormous sinkhole is a botanical delight, with a remote location that is only accessible via a lowered rope ladder. The humid conditions have led to the development of a surprisingly lush and self-contained ecosystem that has been largely untouched by humans!
The sinkhole is 192 meters deep, according to the Xinhua news agency, deep enough to just swallow St. Louis' Gateway Arch. A team of speleologists rappelled into the sinkhole, discovering three cave entrances in the chasm.
A Discovery Rich In Ancient Trees & Unknown Species
During their exploration, the team also came across several magnificent trees that were not just tall, but also ancient. The trees, which reached up to 40 meters in height, were a sight to behold. They stretched their branches toward the sunlight that filtered through the sinkhole entrance as if reaching for the sky — how beautiful!
Various fragrant flowers, vines, mosses, and palm trees have sprouted up, creating a thick green carpet on the sinkhole floor. Hundreds of swallows have nested along the sinkhole's cliff faces, feeding on the flourishing butterfly and insect populations. "I wouldn't be surprised to know that there are species found in these caves that have never been reported or described by science until now," Chen Lixin from the expedition team, said.
Luscious Undergrowth As High As A Person's Shoulders
Southern China's topography features dramatic sinkholes and otherworldly caves. This latest discovery occurred in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, near Ping'e village in the county of Leye. This area is renowned for its fabulous karst formations, which include sinkholes, rock pillars, and natural bridges, and has earned the region a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation!
The sinkhole's interior is 306 meters long and 150 meters wide. The Mandarin word for such enormous sinkholes is "tiankeng," or "heavenly pit," and the bottom of the sinkhole did indeed look like another world. Chen Lixin said that the dense undergrowth on the sinkhole floor was as high as a person's shoulders — wow!
What a marvellous and exciting discovery. Nature is truly amazing!
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