箐口天坑

Qingkou Tiankeng - Turnip Sinkhole


Useful Information

Location: Houping Township, Wulong, Chongqing.
(29.489016, 107.834105)
Open: not yet developed.
[2021]
Fee: not yet developed.
[2021]
Classification: KarstTiankeng
Light: n/a
Dimension:
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:
Address: Qingkou Tiankeng, Tel: +86-, Fax: +86-,
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

OCT-2003 Wulong Karst declared a National GeoPark.
2007 inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Description

箐口天坑 (Qingkou Tiankeng, Turnip Sinkhole) is actually only one of a cluster of five tiankengs. It is also called the 武隆后坪天坑群 (Wulong Houping Tiankeng Group). This is the only currently known tiankeng cluster in the world. The Qingkou Tiankeng Scenic Area with a core zone of 7 ha includes all five.

  1. 箐口天坑 (Qingkou Tiankeng): L=250 m, W=220 m, VR=300 m, Ar=40,000 m², A=1100 m asl. There are three seasonal streams which fall into the tiankeng like a waterfall. It is connected to the 3 km long Erwang Cave.
  2. 牛鼻子洞天坑 (Niubizidong Tiankeng): L=380 m, W=30-100 m, VR=200 m. Two caves on the north and south side, formed like an eggplant.
  3. 石王洞天坑 (Shiwangdong Tiankeng): L=170 m, W=150 m, Ar=20,000 m². Connected to caves on the east and north sides.
  4. 打锣凼天坑 (Daluodang Tiankeng)
  5. 天平庙天坑 (Tianpingmiao Tiankeng)

The tiankeng are located in a gorge which is karstified limestone, surrounded by insoluble rocks. It is named 閻王溝岩溶峽 (Yánwáng gōu yánróng xiá, Yanwanggou Karst Gorge). The gorge runs 2,3 km in north-south direction amd is 500 m deep. This canyon is a blind valley in the sense that it drains underground, underground is a huge system of caves, which are connected to the caves. There are also several caves in the area, namely 二王洞 (Erwang Cave), 三王洞 (Sanwang Cave), and 麻湾洞 (Mawan Cave). There is also a stone forest called 寶塔石林 (Baota Stone Forest). While normal tiankengs are collapses of enormous cave systems below, this set of tiankengs is thought to be formed by the meeting of surface streams rushing into the underground. So they are called the world's only surface water erosion-caused tiankeng group.

The site was enlisted in the UNESCO World Heritage list, together with Three Bridges and Furong Cave. WH status actually includes accessibility by the public, so the development of the area is part of the deal. It was also declared a scenic area, which is typically touristic status in China. So far the other two are well-developed, but this tiankeng is still undeveloped. This is actually a good thing, as Chinese development includes coloured lights, soldier robots and park landscapes with bridges, buddha statues and pavilions. A geological site is typically completed by half a dozen kitschy attractions. At Qingkou so far no development has happened. If you want to visit the area a local guide is advisable. It is possible to reach the tiankengs on rather poor roads or on trails, but because of the steep walls it is not possible to enter without climbing gear. The best outlooks for Qingkou Tiankeng are the riverbeds of the three rivers flowing in, only if they are dry of course.

Be careful when you read about this site on webpages. It is often mixed up with nearby Three Bridges, which is a group of four tiankengs connected by natural bridges. On most articles about this site the pictures were from other sites in the area, because due to the inaccessibility no picture are on the web.