|Name:The Longtan Gorge|
On the south shore of
Lake along the Yellow River, there lies the Longtan Gorge among the mountains of west
Henan. As a part of the
Park, it is located at the Xin’an County of Henan Province, 80 kilometers to the west of the
Park is a comprehensive geological park characterized by the remains of sedimentary tectonics and sceneries of various topographical features, together with other remains of geologic hazards, typical minerals, water body, vegetation, etc. Covering an area of 328 square kilometers, it is composed of five parts, namely Longtan Gorge,
Lake. The rare narrow gorge clusters of red rocks standing here are both beautiful and valuable, mirrored in the vast
Lake of green waves, making a glorious pearl on the
Yellow river, either in aesthetics or science. The Longtan Gorge is a chief representative of the gorge clusters in the
The Sunken Ship in an
About 1.2 billion years ago,
North China was still a vast sea stretching to the horizon. Later, in the crustal movements, the settled layer rose up and exposed itself above the sea, forming a land made of thick mauve quartz sandstone of more than 820 meters on the south bank of the
Yellow River to the north of Xin’an. That’s the origin of the major mountains lying in this area. The neotectonic movement of the crust later (since 2.4 million years ago till now) turned the settled layer exposed above the sea into narrow gorge clusters of red rocks with topographical features represented by high gorges, long valleys and hidden caves, with the help of numerous rising and sinking, cracking and collapsing, weathering and eroding in millions of years. These topographical features are evidences of the historical process of the geological evolution of both this area and the
Yellow River. The Longtan Gorge is a natural museum reflecting the oceanic illuvial features of ancient
North China with remains of benthal sedimentary tectonics falling into hundreds of categories, represented by the high gorges, jar-like valleys, caves, rocks of various forms, etc. These geological remains and the gullies at the bottom of the gorges form a beautiful natural scene.
(I) The majestic gorges and the elegant stream:
Quartz sandstone valleys found in
China usually have one side steep and the other side slope. However, in the Longtan Gorge, the two cliff sides stand high, facing each other, extending far away. This rare and unique phenomenon is typical and valuable in scientific research.
The Wulong Pond
Stepping into the Longtan Gorge, visitors are greeted by its first sight of the huge natural “landscape painting” composed of Red Rocks, Wulong Waterfall and the Wulong Pond. Rushing down from the mouth of the hanging gully of Red Rocks which is more than 100 meters high, the Wulong waterfall roars thunderously above a beautiful artificial pond of green water which is 300 meters long and 50-150 meters wide, spacious enough for joy sailing.
A further step along the
Valley of dense grass and trees will bring visitors into the highlight of the scenic area –the cluster of continuous great gorges.
The Heilong Gorge
The Qinglong Gorge, the Heilong Gorge and the Feilong Gorge are typical perpendicular joints formed out of quartz sandstones during the neotectonic Movement of the mesoid and the Algonkian period. Out of the strong erosion of flowing water to the joint, a valley with high steep cliffs standing facing each other appeared. The Qinglong Gorge (Blue Dragon Gorge) is 60 meters long, 30 meters tall but narrower than 5 meters, with two steep cliffs facing each side. The Heilong Gorge (Dark Dragon Gorge), 20 meters long, 50 meters tall, is only 1-3 meters wide. Looking up from the two towering steep cliffs, the sky is just a thread.
In these gorges, the ponds are generally 5-6 meters deep while the waterfalls over ten meters tall. With flying waterfalls spraying over green ponds and steep gorges overlooking waterfalls, visitors will be impressed by their amazing beauty. The best representative is the Heilong Gorge, the deep and narrow crack with a waterfall pouring down thunderously from a steep cliff 15 meters above. Inside the dim gorge, the awesome changing lights and shadows have made so different a fancy world.
(II) Unique Caves
There are lots of natural caves in the Longtan Gorge. Some of them came out of the collapse of quartz sandstones, like the
Cave; while others are formed by the weathering and the erosion of water, like the
Cave lying at the foot of cliff to the right of the Qinghechuan which is located at the mouth of the Longtan Gorge. Huifeng cave is always constant in temperature, cool in hot summer and warm in cold winter.
Luohan( Arhat ) Cliff
The Feilong Gorge is characterized by its “urn valleys" with the whole gorge narrow at the opening and spacious in the middle. This is a special geological phenomenon resulting from the long-term erosion of flowing water. There are two “urn valleys" in the Feilong Gorge with the first one typical with a diameter of 20 meters and a radian of 270°.
(III) Varied corrugated stones
Valley of 4 kilometers long in the Longtan Gorge is a rare natural museum of over one hundred types of corrugated marks carried on stone patches of various sizes ranging from dozens of square meters to dozens of square centimeters. These corrugated marks on the stone patches are produced out of different physical variations of primary geological sediments under the effect of weathering and erosion during the process of the evolution of the earth. Stones bearing such marks are called “corrugated stones”. Based on
appearances, they can be labeled with different names such as the pinnate, tessellated, nodular and constellation stones.
Five-era Corrugated Stone
The “five-era corrugated stones”, a special kind of corrugated stones found in the valley, bears five layers of different corrugations coming from sediments of five different eras. Showing the evolution process of the geological sedimentary strata, these stones are very significant in scientific research.
(IV) The mysterious stone books from heaven:
These stone patches are sights made out of differential weathering. Usually, on the surface of the medium-bedded quartz sandstone, there will be thin sheets of argillaceous sandstone or siltites. Exposed to the air, some of them tend to disappear out of differential weathering while others remain. Some of the remains are clear and distinct, in shape of certain Chinese characters; while others, called the “oracle stones”, are indecipherable.
(V) The lifelike “artistic stones”:
There are many standing stones in the Longtan Gorge, as the remains after the stratum collapses of rock masses or the leftovers of limestone due to long term erosion. For their vivid resemblance to human beings, animals or items, they are called the “artistic stones”. The General Stone is an example of those resembling human beings while the Tiger Stone, the Club Stone and the Double-pagoda Stone are resemblances of these items. A typical “artistic stone” standing at the end of the Longtan Gorge is 50 meters high named “Falchion Stele Stone” since it resembles a falchion observed from the side and a stele from the front. It is really amazing.