Exploring the Wonders of Xingwen UNESCO Global Geopark
Unveiling the Xingwen Geopark
Located in the Yibin City of Sichuan Province, the Xingwen UNESCO Global Geopark is a marvel of nature that stands as a testament to the planet’s geological history. This park, unique for its karst landscapes, has drawn scientists and tourists alike. The park serves as a crucial research site for studying karst landforms and tiankeng, also known as giant karst sinkholes. These distinctive geological features have made the park a popular attraction for numerous visitors.
Geological and Historical Significance
The Xingwen Geopark, a transitional zone between the Sichuan Basin and the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, is home to a diverse range of carbonates and carbonate-bearing strata dating from 250 million to 490 million years ago. These strata are rich in marine fossils and sedimentary marks, offering a glimpse into the Earth’s distant past. The Geopark is not only a geological wonder but also a place of historical significance, housing the ruins and cultural artifacts of the ancient Bo and Miao Nationalities.
Marvelous Karst Landforms
The park’s karst landscapes, including the Tiankeng cluster, karst caves, stone forest, and sea, are typical and with clear characteristics, making the park a natural museum for studying karst landform. The Tiankeng Doline, a massive sinkhole, has been recognized as a premier site for studying karst geology. The park’s geological elements, combined with the ancient Bo Nationality and colorful modern Miao Nationality, create a living Geopark.
Exploring the Park: Tianquan Cave and Rock Sea
The Tianquan Cave, formed about 3 million years ago, is the most famous among the cave group in Xingwen. Its length and space put it at the top of the world’s list. The cave houses waterfalls, rock terraces, stalactites, and an underground river. The Rock Sea, stretching 10 km from east to west and 4 km from south to north, is another must-visit spot. The area is characterized by stone peaks, odd style stone formations, and a dense stone forest. The largest sinkhole in the world, almost twice the size of the American Arecibo, is another impressive feature of the park.
The Cultural Heritage
Besides its geological significance, the park is also a repository of cultural heritage. The ancient Bo people, an ethnic minority full of legends, left behind numerous ruins in the park, such as Cliff Coffins, Bo Tombs, Linxiao ancient town, Stone Marks, and bronze drums. The Miao people with their rich cultural heritage also contribute to the park’s cultural diversity.
Community and Sustainability
Xingwen UNESCO Global Geopark has created over 1,600 jobs for local residents, encouraging them to run over 110 family inns and restaurants, agricultural gardens, and handicraft workshops. The park has also been strengthening the communication and cooperation within the Global Geopark Network (GGN), actively participating in meetings and conferences both at home and abroad to share experiences, enhance mutual understandings, and promote sustainable development.
Visiting the Park
Traveling to Xingwen Geopark can be a unique experience. Tourists are advised to stay in Xingwen to avoid long travel times. The park’s admission fee is 90 yuan for day view and 30 yuan for night view. While it’s possible to explore the park on foot, transport is available for those who prefer it. The geological museum at the gate of the park provides a comprehensive introduction to the park’s geological origins, development, and evolution, as well as the ancient Miao culture.
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