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).
On Sunday, Poverty Point, LA, was granted World Heritage recognition by UNESCO's (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Committee. [more inside]
The history of people finding Australia goes a little something like this: Aboriginal Australians separated from a migration out of Africa into Asia about 70,000 years, and Australian archaeological sites have proof of humans going back 50,000 years. Jump ahead to 1606, when there were two European voyages that made landfall and charted portions of Australia. First was Willem Janszoon's voyage in late February or early March of that year, and then Luís Vaz de Torres came a few months later. Abel Jansen Tasman was the first European to come across Tasmania, and between 1642 and 1646, his crew charted the Australian coast, more or less (Google auto-translation, original page). Then of course, there was James Cook's 1770 voyage. With all these dates in mind, how did five copper coins from an African sultanate that collapsed in the early 1500s (Google books) end up on an uninhabited island in the Northern Territory of present-day Australia? [more inside]
Twenty years ago, on this day, Nelson Mandela, walked out of prison. While Mandela would go on to end Aparthied and revolutionize South African fashion, the island where he spent eighteen of his twenty-seven years in prison would go on to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The lack of regular habitation, however, has brought a new problem to island, a plague of rabbits.
Gros Morne National Park, tucked away on the west coast of Newfoundland, has long been a getaway for both naturalists and hiking buffs.[Warning: resizes browser] A panoramic view of select locations in or near the park. [more inside]
Ben Kacyras is the inventor of the portable Cyrax 3D scanning camera traditionally used by surveyors for quickly creating "surgical exact" 3D models of large structures. Ben has set a goal to scan every World Heritage Site on Earth and make it available online so that if anything were to happen to a site, an exact replica could be re-built. Example Cyrax pictures. More 3D Camera links and other World Heritage Digitization efforts.