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Zhijin Cave, the best cave in China
Author:toguizhou / Update time:2015-08-12 09:14:53 / Hits:0

China has the greatest concentration of karst topography of any nation in the world. It is so well endowed with caves across the country, it could well be called the "Kingdom of Caves". Now, nearly 400 caves have been developed as tourist attractions, accounting for half of the tourist caves in the world. That said, There is only one of them that enjoys four titles-"National Key Tourist Area....."National Geological Park."A Trop 40 Tourist Attraction"and "Museum of Karst", That one is the Zhijin Cave.



The cave is situated in the Bijie Prefecture of Guizhou.
between the Liuchong and Sancha rivers, both of them sources of the Wujiang River. The first thing about the beauty of the Zhiiin Cave is its colossal volume. Its entrance sits half way up a mountainside in the northeast of Zhijin County; it is bout l 5 meters high, 20 meters wide. shaped like a tiger's mouth. But inside this ordinary entrance, 1ies a world of vastness.

At present. its confirmed length is 12.1 kilometers. consisting of four levels and five subsidiary caves, with a total floor area of 700, 000 square meters-way bigger than Tian'anmen Square's 440, 000 square meters. Its height  normally ranges between 60 and l 00 meters, but at its highest point of about l 50 meters it is as tall as a 50-storey building. Furthermore, it cannot be traced how many collapses it took place over its long geological history to shape today's l2 splendid caverns and 47 rooms. Among the "rooms."there are five over 10,000 square meters in area; the biggest is called Shiwan Dashan(0ne Hundred Thousand Great Mountains). This is about 70, 000 square meters in area-equivalent t0 10 football pitches-but it is not open to tourists yet.



Zhijin Cave is not only large in scale but also rich in variety.
The space formed by the roof and walls of the cave is sometimes conical, at other points arched, oblong, or square....The 6.6-kilometer route open to visitors is in some parts deep and serene, other times it is lively and simple, as high as the night sky, or so low you could touch its roof; at times it is as wide as a boundless plain, at others as narrow as a valley path, as large as the firmament, as close as a canopy, as steep as a cliff or as flat as a field.

Unlike other caves which are normally rather empty. the Zhijin Cave is like God's treasure-house for keeping the world's most beautiful natural scenery. It has over than 40 kinds of speleothems, among them stalagmites, stelae, stone "pagodas," "drums," "shields,""flowers." helictites. and "beds." Nowhere else in the world has such a large variety or concentration of deposits. The Zhijin Cave stalagmites come in a great variety of amazing shapes--frozen mushrooms, flower petals, pine cones, pointed pagodas and helmets for example. The jewels in the crown are its two unique stalagmites, the Silvery-Rain Tree and the Overlord's Helmet.



Time contributes a lot to the beauty of the subterranean world.
Scientists can deduce the relative climate, topography and environmental changes from speleothems. The Zhijin Cave is a dry cave that lost its subterranean river long, long ago. Now people can only imagine what the fiver looked like. About 1.2 million years ago, the Zhijin Cave collapsed because of corrosion, erosion, scouring, seepage, and changes of flow volumes, eventually forming huge chambers. About 250,000 years ago, surface water no longer infiltrated into the cave and it became a dry cave, and gradually calcium carbonate speleothems began to take shape.



One intriguing thing was the discovery of a nearly 100-square-meter area of animal excrement and an one--meter--tall pile of hard thorns in a small branch cave on the second level of the Zhijin Cave.
By isotope testing, experts have identified them as the remains of a group of extinct hedgehogs that liked cave living. Over 1,000 years ago, hedgehogs dwelt in this cave.
They must have lived there for a long time to have left such "deep" remains.



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