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China scientists stunned as huge sinkhole found hiding ancient forest: ‘Spectacular!’

NewsChina scientists stunned as huge sinkhole found hiding ancient forest: ‘Spectacular!’

The sinkhole is 630 ft (192 metres) deep, which means it could swallow all but about a dozen buildings in the UK. Last week, a group of scientists and spelunkers rappelled down into the pit, where they discovered three cave entrances. They also found an ancient preserved forest with massive trees that are 131 feet (40 meters) tall, with branches that were reaching out toward the sunlight that filters through the sinkhole entrance.

George Veni, cave expert and the executive director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI) in the US said: “This is cool news.”

Mr Veni, who was not involved in the study, not that he wasn’t surprised by the discovery of the sinkhole as they are relatively common in China.

Southern China features an abundance of karst topography, which is a geographical feature that is particularly susceptible to the formation of dramatic sinkholes and otherworldly caves.

UNESCO describes the South China Karst as “unrivalled in terms of the diversity of its karst features and landscapes”.

Karst landscapes are formed primarily by the dissolution of bedrock that is comprised of soluble rocks such as limestone, dolomite, and gypsum.

Its solubility makes sinkholes and caves a distinctive feature of karst topography.

Rainwater, which tends to be slightly acidic, picks up carbon dioxide as it runs through the soil, which increases its acidic properties.

The rainwater then flows through the cracks in the bedrock, gradually eroding and widening them into tunnels and other distinct geographical features.

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