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Three Geological Parks Established in Hebei Province
With approval of the Ministry of Land Resources, Hebei Province recently announced the establishment of three geological parks within its borders: The Baishi (White Stone) Mountain in Laiyuan, Liujiang of Qinhuangdao and Tiansheng (Heaven-made) Bridge of Fuping.

The establishment of three geological parks signifies a breakthrough in protecting geological ruins in the province, and it will play a positive role in geological ruin protection in the future, said Zhou Ming, head of the Land Resources Department of Hebei Province.

The first batch of geological parks includes either typical geological ruins or geomorphologic scene with special features.

The White Stone Mountain State Geological Park in Laiyuan covers an area of 60 square km (23.2 square miles). Here one can find the only marble rock forest, which features a sheer drop and great density. The precipice and overhanging rocks seem to have been carved out by axes. Through the Shipu (Ten-Waterfall) Gorge a brook runs over 4,000 meters (4,374 yards). Ten waterfalls are connected with each other. One waterfall flies down, forming a pond under it, which again flows down to make another waterfall. The biggest drop in elevation reaches 60 meters (66 yards). Seen from afar, it is like a silver river hanging upside down. Along the 6-square-km (2.32 square miles) range of the Juma River are seven big springs, with water gushing out at a speed of 340 million cubic meters (445 million cubic yards) per second. This is the only river having not been seen to run dry in karst topography in Hebei Province.

The Liujiang State Geological Park in Qinhuangdao is 280 km (112 miles) away from Beijing, with an area of 186 square km (71.8 square miles). It is mainly composed of geological ruins, geomorphologic scenery areas and other sights of interest. The geological ruins are found in Liujiang Basin. It can be called a “natural geological museum” because it boasts rich stratification with fossils of ancient extinct life and geological structure traces. It is the site where China began conducting geological survey, research and teaching practices. The geomorphologic scenery area features wind-erosion topography of the granite in Yanshan Mountains. The Zushan scenic area is known as “Yellow Mountain in north China,” with a main peak of 1,424 meters (1,557 yards) high above sea level. The unique peak, pure water, strange stone, exotic caves and precious flowers and trees can all be found here. The Changshou (Longevity) Mountain has a special appearance, while the Xuanyang Cave remains a mystery. Jiaoshan is the first mountain the Great Wall goes through after it starts from Juyongguan in Beijing. Yansai Lake is known as “a pearl on Yanshan Mountains” due to its winding gorges and sheer precipice. The 50-km-long (31 miles) Great Wall of the Ming Dynasty is a human landscape here.

The Heaven-made Bridge is located about 25 km (15.5 miles) west of Fuping, which covers an area of 32 square km (12.4 square miles). The geological park includes two sections: The Heaven-made Bridge waterfall scenic area of Zhujiaying in Erathem era and standard geological section of Longquanguan. The Heaven-made Bridge sits above the 112-meter-high (122 yards) waterfall, which is formed by metamorphic rock that is rarely seen in China. Coming down from it are nine connected waterfalls, creating an imposing scene. Meanwhile, the standard geological section of Longquanguan are also ancient metamorphic rock dating back 2.8 billion years. It has been included by China Stratigraphic Canon as an independent stratum and named Longquanguan Group.

According to Zhou Ming, the three geological parks are valuable geological ruins, which represent different stages of the earth’s development. The establishment of geological parks that can help better protect geological ruins and promote tourism represents a new way of utilizing geological resources.

(CCTV.com by Rao Yajie, translated by Li Jinhui for China.org.cn, May 6, 2002)

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