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Sinkhole springs subterranean surprise

By Li Hongyang (

Updated: 2022-07-05

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Explorers and researchers are investigating a recently discovered sinkhole in South China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region to assess the flora and fauna preserved inside the massive pit.

According to the Institute of Karst Geology at the China Geological Survey, researchers are closely observing the walls of the sinkhole and the caves inside to evaluate the scientific and conservation value. They will also undertake research on the sinkhole's development and evolution.

In May, they discovered the sinkhole through satellite images and drone photography during a field survey in the region, together with three caves in the sinkhole and a well-preserved primitive forest.

In an article posted on the institute's website, Zhang Yuanhai, a senior engineer with the establishment, said the sinkhole is located near Ping'e village in Leye county. Its maximum depth is 192 meters and its volume exceeds 5 million cubic meters, equal to about 2,000 swimming pools. Known as Tiankeng in Mandarin, it is a well-preserved standard sinkhole, according to the institute.

The Karst landscape is highly valuable for geological and environmental research because it can show the evolutionary process of a sinkhole and contains unique ecosystems, according to the survey.