China: A primitive forest discovered at the bottom of an abyss

It feels like being in the pages of Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or in the Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne… A team of speleologists has just discovered a forest at the bottom of an immense abyss, in China. At the bottom of this 200 meter deep chasm is in fact an absolutely intact primitive virgin forest, never trodden until then by the footsteps of men.

It was on May 6 that a team of speleologists discovered it in the Guangxi region., rich in cavities of this kind, “karsts” (or sinkholes) born from the dissolution of bedrock over time by rainwater. Once chambers and cavities have been dug by the acidity of the water, taking on carbon dioxide in contact with the ground, the ceiling collapses and a chasm is formed. Speleologists have identified three entrances to this vast cave 306 meters long and 150 wide. That is a volume of 5 million cubic meters. Speleologists also discovered three large caves in the wall, probably "remnants of the evolution of the abyss" at the bottom of which this forest is located, explain its discoverers.

It would not be surprising if this forest harbors unknown species of plants and trees, even supposedly extinct, explained the leader of this expedition, Chen Lixin. This real ecosystem includes trees almost 40 meters high, the vegetation reaching up to the shoulders. The budding explorers of this lost world in the depths of China had to walk for hours before reaching the limits of the forest. The county of Leye where this sinkhole and this jungle were discovered has about thirty known karsts. More broadly, the Guangxi region is renowned for the abundance of such formations, so much so that the region is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. But never before had such an imposing cavity, sheltering such a forest, been discovered.

Judikael Hirel

source: Xinhua

This article is published from Selection of the day.

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