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Xingwen World Geopark

 
 
What is Fun?

Explore the longest Karst Cave in China

Made adventurous expedition to karst caves, and there are multi-routes available now

See the biggest volcanic Crater in the World

See the most distinctive volcanic crater clusters

See the most unique stone formation clusters in China: Stone Sea

See the ancient and mysterious coffins of Bo Ethnic Group along the cliffs

Experience Miao and Bo Ethnic Group’s life, to see the mysterious coffins along cliffs, ancient architecture, lifestyles, attires, etc.
 

Overview of Xingwen World Geopark

Located in Xingwen County, Yibin City of Sichuan Province, the transitional area between Sichuan Basin and Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, Xingwen World Geopark has densely and widely distributed limestone formations of all ages embodied by Stone Forest, Stone Sea and Karst caves. Among them, Stone Forest, Stone Sea and Tiankeng (giant doline) are its three wonders.

Carbonates and carbonate-bearing strata dating from 490 million to 250 million years ago are well preserved in this geopark which boasts the most ancient, the most complete and the most widely distributed Karst Landform, one of the best developed Karst Landform in China: Xingwen Karst Landform. Featuring world level funnel-shaped landforms, large quantities of flow-in caves and outstanding environment to foster Karst Landform, Xingwen World Geopark has been highly regarded as an ideal place to carry on the Karst Landform study by Chinese scientists since the 80s of last century. Together with Stone Forest in Yunnan and the Karst Landform in Guilin, they rank as top three representatives Karst Landform in Southwest China, thus, it is of significant value.

With earth surface dominated by honeycomb of Tiankeng (giant dolines), diversified Stone Forest, grand and imposing valleys, flowing waterfalls and underground space reigned by labyrinth of caves, Xingwen World Geopark features beautiful and unique landscape, furthermore, it is also bestowed with profound culture and unique customs. Bo ethnic group and Miao ethnic group have dwelled in this area since ancient time and have created splendid culture. In 2005, it is ratified by UNESCO as the second batch of world geopark.

Highlight of Main Scenic Areas of Xingwen World Geopark

Xingwen Stone Sea Scenic Area, Mt Bowangshan Scenic Area, Taianshiling Scenic Area, Mt Lingxiaoshan Scenic Area and Dabaniyuan Scenic Area constitute the 156 km2 Xingwen World Geopark.

Xingwen Stone Sea Scenic Area(兴文石海园区)

Located in Shilin town, 25 km from Xingwen County, Xingwen Stone Scenic Area covers an area of 70 km2 and embraces the most diversified as well as complete Karst Landform in Xingwen World Geopark. As the essential part of this geopark, it features Stone Sea, funnel-shaped landform and around 200 Karst caves.

Stone Sea is composed of rocks measuring 1 m to 2 meters in height, which usually adopt the triangle shapes and form the most diversified patterns, such as gate, column, bamboo or animals.
 

Bear Plays with Turtle

Husband and Wife

Bajie Proposes to a Girl

Seven Faries Peaks

 Unique Stone Formations

 Unique Stone Formations Around a Pool

 Guest-greeting Stone

 Waiting Stone

  

 Miao Ethnic Group's Residence

 Stone Sea

  

 Stalactities

Light Pouring into the Underground Cave


 
It also has the biggest funnel-shaped landform in the world (the biggest dead volcanic craters in the world. Comprising caves and underground rivers, it is divided into nine layers. A fairyland it is.
 
 

  the biggest funnel-shaped landform in the world



You can tour Tianquan Cave, the longest cave in China and various Tiankeng (giant doline,天坑) clusters here. This area is the naming place and the earliest study place of Tiankeng. Dayanwan and Xiaoyanwan are marvelous Karst landforms. With a diameter of 650 meters, the 208 meters deep Xiaoyanwan, in particular, is an eye catcher. Its interior is a wonderland: cliffs are cut by greenish grey vertical lines, which sparks like waterfalls and there is an over 2000 meters’ long natural walkway leading to Tianquan Cave. Dayanwan, 400 meters away from Xiaoyanwan, measures over 700 meters horizontally and 450 meters vertically and reaches 230 meters in the deepest point, which is connected to Tianliang Cave. Both Dayanwan and Xiaoyanwan surpass the giant Funnel-shaped landform in America which with a diameter of 330 meters and a depth of 70 meters.
 

Xiaoyanwan's Skylight Scenic Sight

 Xiaoyanwan's Cave

 Xingwen Stone Sea Scenic Area's Cave

  Xingwen Stone Sea Scenic Area's Cave

  Xingwen Stone Sea Scenic Area's Cave

  Xingwen Stone Sea Scenic Area's Underground River



Besides Stone Sea and Tiankeng, the 183 underground caves spanning ten thousand square meters is another must-see here. Among them, Tianquan Cave(天泉洞,Heaven Spring Cave) is the biggest in China. Extending as long as 4.2 km, the 81168 square meter Tianquan Cave consists of seven halls. One Hall named as “Skylight” has a special natural window, spring plunges from the window, thus Tianquan Cave derives its name.
 
 

Tianquan Cave: The Longest Cave in China



Mt Bowangshan Scenic Area(僰王山园区)

Located at Yibin, the first city along Yangtze River’s origination place, Mt Bowangshan is a famous mountain since ancient time, with the ancient and mysterious Bo Ethnic Tribe as its earliest indigenous inhabitants. According to history record, in 1115AD, they waged a war against the autocratic goverment at that time. However, they were defeated by one general who lighted up a group of monkeys and set them into Mt Bowangshan. This area centers around a solitary hill, around the axle of 18.2 km2, the mountains are 850 meter in height averagely. Heimao Peak (Black Hat Peak) with an elevation of 1180 meters is the highest point in this area. This dreamland composed of 5 streams, 68 waterfalls, ancient rocks, Ordovician Era’s limestone with leopard pattern, secluded valleys, steep cliffs, grotesque stones, amazing caves and the relics of ancient Bo primitive ethnic group. Besides, there is a 120,000 acres of bamboo forest, an ideal summer resort.
 

Entry of Mt Bowangshan Scenic Area

Li Zhuang (the Bo Ethnic Group's Residence Relics)

Hometown of Bamboo

Bo Ethnic Group's Coffins Along Cliffs

  

 Waterfall

Ancient Architecture of Bo Ethnic Group

  

 Deep and Croocked Valleys

 Winding Path



Taian Stone Forest Scenic Area(太安石林园区)

Located Northwest of Stone Sea Scenic Site, Taian Stone Forest was formed 490 million years ago, 200 million years earlier than Stone Sea Scenic Site’s stone formations, ranking as one of the oldest Karst landform in China. This area is a kingdom and maze of rare limestone rocks which take the most originative shapes and coexist with green bamboo forest, adding beauty to each other. Besides, an eight km2 karst cave is newly discovered, whose awesome interior space is claimed by numerous stalactites, stone bamboos and other formations. Take a bird’s-eye view of Taian Stone Forest Scenic Site, you can indulge in the intoxicating scenery composed of imposing and grotesque stone formations scatter in the green ocean of bamboo which is praised by experts as the representative of green stone forest.
 

 Delicious Food

 The Unique Ancient Limestone Rocks

 The Unique Ancient Limestone Rocks

 Bamboo coexists with Ancient Limestone



Lingxiaochen Scenic Area(凌霄城园区)

Lingxiaochen Scenic Area features picturesque geological landform includes valleys, waterfalls, cyathea and the relics of Bo ethnic group. Cyathea is the main food source of vegetarian dinosaurs. There are over 20000 cyathea trees densely distributed in the picturesque Longtanggou, measuring 3 to 5 meters in height and they are the giants of their specy already. Among them, the 8 meters high cyathea is the highest one discovered in China by now. Surrounded by cliffs on four sides, the ancient Lingxiaiochen has a spacious cultivation land covering an area of over 100 acres. Lingxiaio Academy, the earliest and most advanced academy in Xingwen County, was named from Mt Lingxiaochen.
 

Lingxiaocheng(凌霄城)



Dabaniyuan Scenic Area(大坝鲵源风光园区)

Situated in Daba Town, 27 km south of Xingwen County, this scenic area mainly features picturesque Karst landscape and is an ideal hatchery site of the precious and endangered Chinese Salamander. Big Fish Cave and Small Fish Cave are two underground rives, the natural hatchery site for Chinsee salamander. Each spring, there will be over 3000 Chinese salamanders dash from the caves, the scene is the most grandest in China.
 
 
 

 Chinese Salamander



Further Reading: the Formation of Xingwen World Geopark

More than 230 million years ago, Xingwen World Geopark was an ocean. Then, during the epirogenic movement of 2.5 million years ago, large area of limestone rocks were uplifted and exposed above earth ground surface, forming the boundless Stone Forest Karst landform, the largest stone forest landform above the ground in China. (This conclusion is supported by large quantities of fossils unearthed here.) As time fleeting away, the limestone rocks turned into underground caves and rivers by weathering and erosion. With the expansion of underground caves, the earth surface collapse when it reaches the limit of height bearing, and funnel-shaped landform, stone peaks, stone columns were formed. Every day witnesses the decrease of earth and the increase of stone, and if you look from high place, this grayish white land looks like a soaring ocean.
 
Further Reading:Bo Ethnic Group(古僰民族)

Bo Ethnic Group, is an ancient ethnic group which once inhabited in Xingwen County, southwest China, and they disappeared mysteriuosly. They established a kingdom as early as Warring States (475BC-221BC) in Xingwen County. The ancient residences, tools, weapons and sacrifice items and especially the coffins along the cliffs as well as the red rock paintings are the only remaining traces for us to explore their mysterious culture and history. 
 

Ancient Residence

The Primitive Red Rock Painting of Bo Ethnic Group, the Extincted Group in China

Miao Ethnic Group

Entry of Miao Ethnic Group's Village



Further Reading:Miao Ethnic Group(苗族)

Xingwen County has the biggest population of Miao Ethnic Group in China. There are around 40,000 Miao people live within the Stone Sea Scenic Area, renowned for their unique attires, wedding and funeral customs, religion, Singing Ceremony Held during Qingming Festival, March 3 Festival, ect. During the March 3 Festival, girls and boys exchange waistbelts and singing the love songs to express their love and make arrangement.
 
Author: Sophia  Posted in 2012
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