A huge sinkhole with an entire ancient forest inside has been discovered

A 630-feet-deep sinkhole has been discovered in China with an entire ancient forest inside.

A 630-feet-deep sinkhole has been discovered by cave explorers in China with an entire ancient forest inside. The sinkhole was found near Ping’e village in Leye County of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region earlier this month.

A 'heavenly pit'

The Chinese Mandarin word for sinkhole is tiankeng or 'heavenly pit.' And inside this one is a forest range featuringancient trees as tall as 131 feet (40 metres).

Zhang Yuanhai, a senior engineer at the Institute of Karst Geology of the China Geological Survey, informed the state news agency Xinhua that the sinkhole contained three caves with a 'well-preserved primitive forest' at the bottom.

Scientists believe it could also contain undiscovered plant and animal species. Chen Lixin, who led the cave expedition team, told Xinhua:

I wouldn’t be surprised to know that there are species found in these caves that have never been reported or described by science until now.

A karst landscape

Leye County already features a number of sinkholes. According to Xinhua, this new discovery has brought the number of sinkholes in the area up to 30. Among those, this one isthe largest, at 1,000ft (306m) long, 490ft (150m) wide and 630ft (192m) deep.

Southern China’s Guangxi region is renowned for its karst landscape, earningit a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Karst is a topography where the dissolution of bedrock by groundwater has formed sinkholes, sinking streams, caves, springs, and other characteristic features.

However this sinkhole is rare, as while it is deep, enough light is able to filter in which allows large trees to grow.

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