China’s Stone Forest

In the far southwest of China, in the Yunnan province, lies the Stone Forest or Shilin. The area is filled with rock formations, some up to 98 feet (30m) tall.

As many of these karst formations rise up from the ground like stalagmites, they resemble petrified trees and create the illusion of a forest of stone.

Like other karst landscapes, the incredible rock formations were created when water that was mildly acidic (mostly rain drops that contained carbon dioxide they picked up as they passed through the atmosphere) dissolved the limestone, hollowing it out and creating amazing rock formations.

The Stone Forest rock formations are ancient, and believed by some to be over 270 million years old!  In 2007, two  parts of the Stone Forest (Suogeyi Village and the Naigu Stone Forest) were made part of South China Karst, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.