Southern China's diverse karst landscape of mountains and caves
August 26, 2014 8:36 AM   Subscribe

In the southern portion of China there is an expansive karst landscape, formed by the dissolution of soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite, and gypsum. The region is home to the South China Karst UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is actually seven different notable features, as well as the visually impressive Moon Hill, some of China's supercaves, and Xiaozhai Tiankeng, the world's deepest sinkhole. You can climb Moon Hill, but it's best to plan ahead. You can also explore China's great caves, but it is necessary to explore between October-November and February-March to avoid the monsoon seasons, and getting down Xiaozhai Tiankeng requires a lot of gear. You can read more about the Tiankengs (giant dolines or sinkholes) in the karst of China (PDF).
posted by filthy light thief (6 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

Didn't we hear on the blue about how terrible UNESCO is? Best slot this part of China for immediate development.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:48 AM on August 26

This is an awesome post - thanks for sharing this.
posted by newdaddy at 10:05 AM on August 26

Didn't we hear on the blue about how terrible UNESCO is? Best slot this part of China for immediate development.

Yes, we did, but there was a feeling that the concerns were overblown. And from write-ups on the region, it sounds like there have been other drivers for development in the region, including Todd Skinner's 1992 climb of Moon Hill (diagrams of the route, no images/video of the climb itself), well ahead of the 2007 World Heritage Site designation for other locations in the region.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:12 AM on August 26

Here is a (rather long) web page documenting a tour of the region looking at natural bridges. Some neat pictures and lots of links.
posted by TedW at 11:33 AM on August 26 [1 favorite]

Wow - Thank you!
posted by bird internet at 11:39 AM on August 26

Thanks for the post - I rented a bike in a neighboring village and walked to the top of Moon Hill, but didn't attempt the climb, on a trip a while back. The article is right about the mosquitoes and the humidity. Even so, beautiful!
posted by Otherwise at 5:54 PM on August 26

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