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Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, China.

Posted By Kirti Ranjan Nayak on Sunday, 31 March 2013 | 18:08

The Zhangye Danxia landform is also known as the eye candy of Zhangye. Many artists envy this masterpiece as it appears like a perfect painting on canvas that spans more than 400 square kilometers in the Gansu Province in northwest China. It is as though either an artist had accidentally spilled his color palette on it with all colors imaginable and let it drip or purposely created this multicolored masterpiece. There are several danxia landforms in China but this one in Zhangye is known as the largest and the most typical, and referred by geologists as the “window lattice and palace-shaped danxia topography”.

"How did mother nature come up with such a magnificent work of art?" you might ask. Geologists would tell you that this type of landform known as danxia is a result of a combination of active movements beneath the Earth’s crust in concurrence with exogenous forces which act on the surface, therefore, creating rock layers that differ in color, texture, shape, size and pattern. These differences, however, uniquely characterize this scenery; creating a terrain composed of towering peaks, jagged cliffs, gaping cave holes, rugged rock pillars and stone walls that go from rough to smooth at various points. It gives an impression of an artistic creation that was carefully thought out yet creatively disorganized at the same time.

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.

The unusual colours of the rocks are the result of red sandstone and mineral deposits being laid down over 24 million years. Picture: Amos Chapple / Rex Features

The resulting 'layer cake' was then buckled by the same tectonic plates responsible for parts of the Himalayan mountains. Wind and rain finished the job by carving weird and wonderful shapes including natural pillars, towers, ravines, valleys and waterfalls - that differ in colour, texture, shape, size and pattern.
Picture: Amos Chapple / Rex Features

A boy walks through, with a feel of Martian landscape.

People enjoying the sweet red of the unique hilly terrain featuring red rocks and cliffs of the danxia landform in the mountainous areas of the Zhangye Geology Park near Zhangye in northwest China's Gansu Province.

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