A team of Chinese scientists has discovered a new giant groove with a forest at the bottom.
The depth of the groove is 630 feet (192 meters), according to the data Xinhua News Agencydeep enough to just swallow the arch gate of St. Louis.
On Friday (May 6th), a team of speleologists and speleologists descended into the pit, finding that the abyss has three entrances to the cave, as well as ancient 131-foot (40-meter) trees that stretch their branches to sunlight that filters through. entrance to the sink.
“This is great news,” said George Veni, executive director of the National Institute of Cave and Karst Research (NCKRI) in the U.S. and an international expert on caves.
Veni was not involved in the study of the cave, but the organization that was, the Institute of Karst Geology of China Geological Survey, is a related institute of NCKRI.
Site for ditches
The discovery is no surprise, Weni told Live Science, because southern China is home to karst terrain, a landscape prone to dramatic ditches and otherworldly caves.
Karst landscapes are formed primarily as a result of the dissolution of rocks, Veni said. Gaining rainwater, slightly acidic carbon dioxide as it passes through the soil, it becomes more acidic. It then flows, rushes and flows through cracks in the rock, slowly expanding them into tunnels and voids.
Over time, as the cave chamber becomes large enough, the ceiling may gradually collapse, opening up huge ditches.
“Because of local differences in geology, climate and other factors, the way karst appears on the surface can vary dramatically,” he said.
“So in China you have this incredibly spectacular karst with huge grooves and giant entrances to caves and so on. In other parts of the world you go out to karst and notice nothing. Pits can be quite muted, just a meter or two in diameter The entrances to the cave can be very small, so you have to squeeze into them. “
In fact, 25 percent of the United States is a karst or pseudo-karst that features caves carved by factors other than dissolution, such as volcanoes or wind, Veni said. About 20 percent of the world’s landmass consists of one of these two cave-rich landscapes.
The new discovery took place in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, near the village of Pingye in Leye County, Xinhua reported. Guangxi is known for its fabulous karst formations ranging from ditches to rock pillars to natural bridges and has earned this region UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Why pits are important
The well is 306 meters long and 150 meters wide, said Xinhua Zhang Yuanhai, a senior engineer at the Institute of Karst Geology.
The word in Mandarin for such huge ditches is “tanken,” or “heavenly pit,” and the bottom of the ditch really seemed a different world.
Chen Lisin, who led the cave expedition group, told Xinhua that the thick undergrowth at the bottom of the plow reaches a man’s shoulders. Karst caves and ditches could become an oasis for life, Veni said.
“I would not be surprised to learn that there are species in these caves that science has never reported or described so far,” Lisin said.
In one cave in West Texas, Veni said, tropical ferns grow abundantly; fern spores apparently have been moved to a secluded spot by bats migrating to South and Central America.
Pits and caves not only provide shelter for life, they are also a channel to aquifers or deep groundwater reserves. Karst aquifers are the sole or primary source of water for 700 million people worldwide, Veni said. But they are easily accessible and merge – or contaminated.
“Karst aquifers are the only types of aquifers that can be contaminated with solid waste,” said Veni. “I pulled out of the active cave stream car batteries, car bodies and barrels with god-knows-what and bottles out from under something.”
The new discovery will increase the number of pits in Lei County to 30, according to Xinhua. The same researchers previously found dozens of ditches in Shaanxi province in northwest China and a group of interconnected ditches in Guangxi, China Daily reported.