龍磷石海

Longlin Shihai - Dragon Phosphorus Sea - Wansheng Stone Forest


Useful Information

Location: Longlin Shihai Scenic Area, Shigu Ping, Shilin Town, Wansheng District, Chongqing.
At Nantian Township, Wansheng District, about 89 kilometers from Chongqing City.
(28.850383, 106.909735)
Open: All year daily 8:30-17.
[2022]
Fee: Adults CNY 50.
[2008]
Classification: KarstStone Forest
Light: n/a
Dimension: Ar=10km²
Guided tours: D=2-3 h.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:
Address: Longlin Shihai, Wandong Road, Qijiang District, Chongqing 400804, Tel: +86-23-6283-9999.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History


Description

龍磷石海 (Longlin Shihai, Dragon Phosphorus Sea) is the oldest and second-largest stone forest in China. This scenic spot is a part of the 万盛石林 (Wansheng Stone Forest), named after the district where it is located. Sometimes it is listed under this name (wrongly). The road X867 ends at the ticket office and shops, from here it's a short walk up the escarpment and to an artificial lake, which is the center of the park. It is located on top of a plateau or mesa, about 100 m higher than the surrounding land. The stone forest is mostly on the right (west) side of the lake, but there are rock formations all over. The sections of the park have quite poetical names like 龙鳞石海 (Dragon Scale Rock Sea).

This is called the northern gate, there is also a southern gate with a huge parking lot, at this location the construction of a geological museum is planned. No matter from which side you enter, the park itself is accessible only on foot.

A shi lin (stone forest) is a typical tropical karren field. Limestone is dissolved by the aggressive rain water of the tropics, forming surfaces with deep channels, which grow deeper and deeper until the remaining ridges get pyramidal shapes similar to Christmas trees, a forest of white stone pines. The pinnacles are made accessible by a series of paved paths, which were constructed at the bottom of the steep incisions. It is possible to visit the forest self-guided, but the trails are a true maze, and it is also possible to hire a guide. This is especially advisable on one of the common misty days, which make the region even more interesting and mysterious, but also increase the risc to get lost.

The entrance fee includes also a Ethnic Dance Show of the Miao, which takes place in the tea house twice a day, at 11 and 14. And it includes a tour through a Tianmen Limestone Cave. This cave is noted for its abundance of speleothems and has a cave river. Unfortunately, as it is part of the park, it is not seen as an independent tourist site and there are no descriptions of this cave.

This is again a negative example for the futile race for fame in numbers. The main facts given about this stone forest is the second largest and the oldest in China. First, the size, they computed the area which is covered by such rock formations, but actually the land is cut into political sections, and this fact is not a geological property, its simply administartive. Such an "administrative" superlative is a bit disappointing. And how about the "oldest" claim, that surely must be a geological superlative? Actually no, from the geological view it makes no sense at all. A stone forest is the result of limestone dissolution, and it exists only while the process is happening. It's like a knife, which only stays sharp while it is frequently sharpened. In other words, a stone forest is recent, it has no age at all because it happens at this moment. That's actually one of the basic truths about all karst forms, they happen now, in the presence. What they actually mean is the age of the limestones, this group of stone forests is composed of the oldest limestones in the area. They were deposited at the bottom of an oxygene rich sea between 600 Ma and 465 Ma during the