Chinese explorers have discovered a gigantic sinkhole in South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region that harboured a stunning ancient forest range at the bottom.
The trees are as tall as 131ft and there’s a possibility of finding more life forms that have not been seen before, according to the Xinhua news agency.
The sinkhole is 630-foot deep, 1,000-foot long and 490-foot wide. It is one of 30 known sinkholes located in Leye County of the autonomous region.
Cave explorers had to hike for several hours before they reached the bottom of the sinkhole. There, they found three entrances, the report added. The sinkhole’s bottom is lined with a “well-preserved primitive forest”.
Chen Lixin, leader of the Guangxi 702 cave expedition team, told the agency that the ancient trees at the bottom are nearly 40 meters high (131 feet), and the dense shade plants are up to one’s shoulders. Mr Lixin said he wouldn’t be surprised if species never been reported or described by science until now are found in these caves.
“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 metre or two in diameter.
Mr Veni added that karst aquifers provide the primary water source for 700 million people worldwide. But they’re easily polluted.
The Guangxi region is known for its beautiful karst landscapes, which form primarily by the dissolution of bedrock. South China has an abundance of Karst formations which have earned the region the title of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.