Red Stones, Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, China
The Danxia landform refers to various landscapes found in southeast and southwest China that “consist of a red bed characterized by steep cliffs”. It is a unique type of petrographic geomorphology found in China. Danxia landform is formed from red-coloured sandstones and conglomerates of largely Cretaceous age. The landforms look very much like karst topography that forms in areas underlain by limestones, but since the rocks that form danxia are sandstones and conglomerates, they have been called “pseudo-karst” landforms.
Danxia landforms cover several provinces in southeast China. Taining County, Fujian Province, has very good examples of “young” danxia landforms wherein deep, narrow valleys have been formed. As the landform gets older, valleys widen and one gets isolated towers and ridges.
The danxia landform is named after Mount Danxia, one of the most famous examples of the danxia landform.
A very peculiar feature of danxia landscape is the development of numerous caves of various sizes and shapes. The caves tend to be shallow and isolated, unlike true karst terrain where caves tend to form deep, interconnecting networks.
In 2010, several danxia landscapes in southern China, with a general name of “China Danxia”, were inscribed as a World Heritage Site. The six inscribed danxia landform areas are: Mount Langshan and Mount Wanfoshan (Hunan Province), Mount Danxia (Guangdong Province), Taining and Guanzhishan (Fujian Province), Mount Longhu and Guifeng (Jiangxi Province), Fangyan, Mount Jianglang (Zhejiang Province), and Mount Chishui (Guizhou Province). The total core area of 6 regions above is 73945 ha, and the total buffer area is 65446 ha.