1241 Ginama, Kunigami-mura, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa 905-1422.
|Classification:||Stone Forests Covered Karst Karren|
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|Address:||Daisekirinzan, 1241 Ginama, Kunigami-mura, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa 905-1422, Tel: +81-98-041-8117, Fax: +81-98-041-8276.|
|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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|2021||inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.|
大石林山 (Daisekirinzan) is said to be the northernmost tropical karst. The hill with its weird limestone formation is quite famous among Japanese. Not because of its geology, its a cultural thing, this site was used as location in numerous movies. In other words, every child has seen this site in a movie.
Locate at the northern tip of the island Okinawa is a limestone plateau with an escarpment all around, resembling the Lost World tepuis in Venezuely. The limestone is dissolved by slightly acidic rainwater. The water forms karren by dissolving the rock. They become deeper and deeper until the rocks with runnels on the surface have become runnels with pinnacle like rocks inbetween. These are the typical tropical stone forests, in more northern climates the are less spectacular, forming limestone pavements and karren fields.
The operators offer trails across the strange landscape and all necessary infrastructure. The also operate the (Okinawa Stone Culture Museum), a geological museum with the theme of "Okinawa stone". The collection contains rock specimens collected from all over the prefecture, but as most of the islands are limestone there are mostly limestones. And it is also a folk museum, as the use and the quarrying of the limestone is a historical and cultural topic. Many old-fashioned stone folk implements are on display, like a flower pot made from a huge coral mass.
Japan is located at the border of the pacific plate, where the oceanic plate subducts under the continental plate. But light rocks such as sandstone, mudstone, chert, and limestone, which rest on the oceanic plate, are not pulled underground. They are scraped off by the edge of the continental plate and pushed together, the results are folding and uplift. This is called an accretion wedge. Many of the japanese islands are actually the uppermost tips of this accretion wedge.
Daisekirinzan was a coral reef that spread over the seamount 250 Ma ago. It was uplifted to the present location, heavily dissolved and karstified by heavy subtropical rains, and became a tropical karst terrain characterized by a karst tower and pinnacles.