A world within a world where trees rise 130 feet into the air, and life that has never-before been seen by humans, may remain hidden.
Chinese explorers discovered a lost world beneath the surface as they descended into a previously unexplored sinkhole. There, they encountered gigantic ancient trees and surprising vegetation and say that the sinkhole could even be home to never-before-seen lifeforms.
It measures 630 feet deep, 1,000 feet long, and 490 feet wide. There are thirty sinkholes known to exist in Leye County of the autonomous region, and it is one of them.
Despite the fact that we are in the 21st century, explored the surface of the Moon, and mapped distant worlds, there are secrets our planet has still not revealed entirely. Antarctica has been fully explored, and the highest mountains have been climbed. We have traveled to unimaginable depths in our planet’s oceans, but our planet keeps on giving.
A giant sinkhole has been discovered in South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region which is home to impressive ancient forests.
Within the gigantic sinkhole, researchers discovered forests made of ancient trees rising into the air by over 130 feet.
Cave explorers had to hike for several hours before they reached the bottom of the sinkhole. There, after a difficult journey “into” our world, they found three entrances. The sinkhole’s bottom is lined with a “well-preserved primitive forest,” and researchers say that this new world is likely home to a life never seen before.
Chen Lixin, leader of the Guangxi 702 cave expedition team, also revealed that the vegetation inside the sinkhole is impressive, and the dense shade plants are up to one’s shoulders.
“This is cool news,” George Veni, the executive director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI) in the US, told Live Science.
He said in most other parts of the world, sinkholes might be quite subdued, only a meter or two in diameter. However, cave explorers discovered the hidden world in May 2022 when they descended into a previously unexplored massive sinkhole that spans more than 176 million cubic feet.
30th giant karst sinkhole discovered in south China's Guangxi pic.twitter.com/52ZxFnyuWF
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) May 11, 2022
A beautiful karst landscape is a feature of the Guangxi region. Karst landscapes are typically formed when bedrock dissolves. Karst formations cover much of South China, earning the region UNESCO World Heritage status.
Such sinkholes are known in Mandarin as “tiankeng” or “heavenly pits,” and the bottom of the sinkhole really seemed like another world to explorers when they descended into it.
According to researchers, karst caves and sinkholes can provide an oasis for life, protecting it from external factors, and allowing it to thrive.
Sinkholes occur when the surface layer collapses and creates a depression in the ground. Many sinkholes form due to karst processes – chemical changes in carbonate rocks, or suffosion processes. The diameter and depth of sinkholes can range from 3 to 2,000 ft, and they can take the form of soil-lined bowls to bedrock-edged chasms. Sinkholes are found in most parts of the world and they may appear gradually or suddenly.
Note* Featured image does not show the newly-found sinkhole. The photograph is from a previous expedition.
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