- One must be a fox in order to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves. Machiavelli Niccolo
Visit Zhangye Danxia Landform, China
Extending along the northern slope of Qilian Mountain in west China, Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park in Gansu is the best representative of China's colorful Danxia landform and the largest Danxia landscape in an arid area, with a wide variety of landforms. Undulating fiery-red ridges together with amazing multicolored mountain folds transform the park into an immense sea of fire with rolling waves, earning it the reputation of China's Rainbow Mountains and also one of the 'Top 10 Geographical Wonders of the World' selected by the National Geographic.
The park is divided into two distinctive areas: Colorful Hills, featuring the bright and contrasting colors, and Ice Valley, famous for its bizarre forms.
Red is the main color of Colorful Hills. Under the sunlight, the seemingly endless hills form a sea of fire. Some of the hills feature rock stripes in different colors, looking like bright ribbons fluttering in the desert. The most representative spots of this kind are the Seven-color Screen and the Colorful Sunset, looking like a rainbow hanging in the distance. However, scenes are totally different on the edge of this area. The colors there turn into yellow and grey, resembling crystal shells in the sun. Scenes are even more breathtaking at sunrise and sunset. Then, the staggered lights and shadows thrown on the hills endow this region with a dynamic beauty.
How Was It Formed?
Zhangye 's Danxia was formed by the erosion of red sandstone, forming isolated peaks and steep stratified outcrops. Its special geological structure, combined with long-term desert conditions , freeze-thaw peeling, and wind and water erosion gave rise to its present appearance.
Geologists believe that Danxia topography is formed by folding of layered oceanic crust. Exposed slanting rock layers have different colors, textures, shapes, sizes, and patterns. The combination of differences in density and erosion create towering peaks, cave holes, and stone halls.