Geologists uncover new cluster of stunning sinkholes in south China

A cluster of staggering sinkholes has been discovered in Baise City of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, the China Geology Survey of the Ministry of Natural Resources announced on Friday.

A sinkhole is typically formed over time by water erosion or some form of collapse of the surface layer.

Geologists confirmed that the 19 sinkholes found in this time are another sign of world-class sinkholes in China, after the discovery of over 50 sinkholes in Hanzhong of northwest China's Shaanxi Province almost five years ago.

"It is the largest sinkhole cluster south of the Tropic of Cancer, with the largest number, so it is unique in this region," said Zhang Yuanhai, senior engineer of the Karst Department of the China Geology Survey.

The new sinkholes have a volume of over one million cubic meters and are said to have been well-preserved. Geologists have also been amazed by the range of colorful karst caves, valleys and waterfalls that have been found in addition to the many karst geological formations and forests found in the depths of the sinkholes.

"Not only sinkholes, but also the caves here are very beautiful. The stalactites are well-preserved and have not been damaged. Unlike other places, stalactites here have not been touched by humans," said Zhang.

The vegetation down in the sinkholes is also healthy, with evidence of the tallest primitive Dong palm trees (caryota urens), which comes under second-class state protection in China.

By the end of 2017, the number of sinkhole clusters found in China stood at 27 with 172 individual sinkholes in these clusters. The distribution area is about 100 square kilometers in total.

"The sinkholes in our country are mainly located in southwest China. There are many sinkholes in Guangxi. There are also many sinkholes in Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan provinces and Chongqing Municipality, and Hanzhong City as well," said Zhang.

(Cover image via VCG)

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