National Geographic : 2014 Jul
0mi 100 0km 100 Shuitang He river sinks belowground Shuitang He river sinks belowground Getu He river sinks Getu He river sinks Stream rises aboveground Stream rises aboveground MIAO ROOM (enlarged below) MIAO ROOM (enlarged below) AREA ENLARGED AREA ENLARGED AREA ENLARGED AREA ENLARGED N Boeing 747 (shown for scale) 1,000ft2,795ft627ft 581,251 sq ft 1,270,141 square feet (22 football fields) Miao Second largest NAME WORLD RANK 516,667 sq ft Titan Fifth Eighth Hong Meigui GUANGXI GUANGXI GUIZHOU GUIZHOU YUNNAN YUNNAN ZIYUN GETU HE CHUANDONG NATIONAL PARK, Gebihe and Yanzi caves Titan Chamber Crown Cave Moon Hill LEYE-FENGSHAN GEOPARK STONE FOREST GEOPARK Dashiwei Tiankeng and Hong Meigui Chamber Guilin Yangshuo Leye Fengshan Guiyang Nanning Kunming LiYuHong(Red) VIETNAM CHINA ofTonkinGulf Guilin Guilin Beijing Beijing CHINA CHINA TAIWAN TAIWAN Enshi Canyon Enshi Canyon Karst Karst CHINA’S SUPERCAVES Beneath southern China’s landscape of cone-shaped peaks, arches, and spires, researchers have discovered some of the largest underground chambers in the world. In 2013 a British-led expedition used a cutting-edge laser scanner to measure several cave systems in unprecedented detail, including Gebihe, whose Miao Room (modeled here from the original laser data), with a maxi- mum height of 627 feet, ranks as the world’s second largest known chamber. CHINA’S UNDERGROUND KINGDOM Southern China holds the world’s largest concentration of the eroded topography called karst. For more than 600 million years, this region was covered by a sea and accumulated miles-thick layers of sediments, including limestone. Uplift and erosion of the geological forma- tion created today’s massive caverns. Miao Room Ziyun Getu He Chuandong National Park, Guizhou Province Surface: About 325 ft above The 3-D scan revealed a previously unknown passage as well as other features undetectable in the dark. Stalagmites as tall as 148 feet, among the world’s largest, indicate the antiquity of the chamber.