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Zhangye Danxia | Incredibly Coloured Rocky Mountains


These incredible landscapes look as if they have been painted in the sweeping pastel brush strokes of an impressionistic artwork. But in fact these remarkable pictures show the actual scenery of Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park in Gansu Province, China. Formed of layers of reddish sandstone, the terrain has over time been eroded into a series of mountains surrounded by curvaceous cliffs and unusual rock formations.

The landform is a unique type of petrographic geomorphology which is found only in China which consists of red-colored sandstones and conglomerates of largely Cretaceous age. Research shows that about 100 million years ago, there used to be a huge inland basin here. Water carried silt from the surrounding mountains to the basin. As the result of global high temperatures the basin dried up and in these arid conditions the sediment oxidized and turned rust color.


The area is fast becoming a popular tourist attraction for the sleepy town of Zhangye. A number of boardwalks and roads have been built to encourage visitors to explore the amazing rock formations. These unique type of petrographic morphological landforms were included on the list of World Heritage sites at the 34th meeting of the World Heritage Committee on August 1, 2010.

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