Rain water erodes carbonate rocks, which leaves craters in those rocks, but has this phenomenon left any giant craters?
The official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, reported on a report It is reported that Chinese scientists have discovered a giant pit containing a forest of trees at its bottom. The depth of the discovered hole is 192 meters, which is deep enough to swallow the Gateway Arch located in St. Louis in the United States.
When the cave scientists set out to explore the site on May 6, they discovered that there are 3 entrances to this chasm, in addition to 40-meter-high trees whose branches extend towards the sunlight that comes to them through the entrance to this giant hole.
According to to report As reported by Live Science, George Finney, executive director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute in the United States who is not involved in the discovery, says it’s “fantastic news.”
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“The discovery was not purely a coincidence, as southern China is home to karst terrain, and therefore, these features are subject to erosion, which creates rocky craters and exciting caves,” said Finney.
erosion of rocks by rain
Karst topography is a geological phenomenon that occurs in wet areas, and results from the erosion of carbonate rocks, especially limestone. When acid rainwater finds its way between rocks, it picks up carbon dioxide and becomes more acidic.
Then this water flows through the cracks of the rocks, eroding them more and more, which increases the width of these cracks. Over time, the gaps that formed become so large that their roofs could gradually collapse, creating these giant craters and gorges.
“The way karst topography is formed on the Earth’s surface varies according to the geology in each region, as well as the climate, in addition to other factors.” Therefore, “you may see huge craters and entrances to giant caves created by karst terrain, while you do not notice the same thing in other parts of the world,” says Finney.
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“The karst terrain represents 25% of the United States, which is characterized by the presence of caves hollowed out by factors other than dissolution, such as volcanoes or winds,” he says.
The giant crater was discovered in China’s Guangxi Autonomous Province, which is famous for its wonderful karst terrain. It has been designated by UNESCO as a world heritage area. According to the report of the Chinese News Agency, this new discovery raises the number of natural wells discovered in that province to 30.
The importance of the giant crater
Zhang Yuanhai, chief engineer at the Institute of Karst Geology, states that the interior of this natural well is 306 meters long and 150 meters wide.
The Chinese call such natural wells a word synonymous with “heavenly pit”, as the bottom of this well looks like another world. The exploration team also mentioned that the bottom of the well contained dense bushes, the length of which extended to almost the length of a human being.
These natural wells are not only a haven for living species around them, but they are basements and underground water reservoirs. Finney believes that “these caves and karst pits may be an oasis of life.”
This is what the team confirms, saying, “We will not be surprised if we find species unknown to science before in these caves.” “Tropical ferns grow abundantly in a cave in West Texas,” Finney adds.
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