Cave explorers in China have discovered a 630-foot deep sinkhole with a stunning ancient forest range that includes 130-foot tall trees.
The explorers came across the sinkhole near Ping’e village in Leye County of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region earlier this month.
It measures 1,000ft in length and 490ft in width, according to the Xinhua news agency.
The experts hiked for several hours before reaching the base of the sinkhole and found three cave entrances.
The sinkhole’s bottom is lined with a “well-preserved primitive forest” with the trees growing up toward the sun, according to experts quoted by the news agency.
Chen Lixin, who led the cave expedition team, told Xinhua that the dense undergrowth on the sinkhole floor was as high as a person’s shoulders and that some of the ancient trees at the bottom were 131ft (40m) tall.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to know that there are species found in these caves that have never been reported or described by science until now,” Mr Lixin said.
China’s Guangxi region is known for its beautiful and sometimes dramatic karst formations.
Karst landscapes are formed primarily by the dissolution of bedrock, George Veni, the executive director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute (NCKRI) in the US, told Live Science.
Leye County alone, where this sinkhole was discovered, is home to a number of such sinkholes. The discovery of this new one has brought the number of sinkholes in this county to 30, reported Xinhua.
“Because of local differences in geology, climate and other factors, the way karst appears at the surface can be dramatically different,” he said.