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Zhangye Danxia Landform: The Amazing Rainbow Mountains of China

Rujuta Patil May 13, 2019
The Zhangye Danxia Geopark located in the northwestern Gansu province of China, a comparatively lesser known place, is fast becoming a favorite tourist spot due to the spectacular, naturally formed colorful mountains of Zhangye Danxia.
The Hexi Corridor, in Gansu province, is part of the ancient Northern Silk Road that was used for trade and military movements. A road trip through the Hexi Corridor today, takes you from Lanzhou to Dunhuang, via Wuwei, Zhangye Danxia, and Jiayuguan's Great Wall Fort.
The beauty of the rocks here can be seen from four different scenic points, which are connected via convenient shuttle rides.
The Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park is located in the northwestern Gansu province of China.
Gansu experiences extreme temperatures due to its arid climate. So, the best time to visit this region is during fall and spring.
The Zhangye Danxia landform became a national geopark in 2011.
Layers of the reddish sedimentary rock beds underneath have surfaced and been exposed due to geological uplift, weathering, and erosion.
This huge warp is attributed to the same tectonic plates that have formed the Himalayan orogeny.
These distinctly colored rocks are several hundred meters tall.
Sandstone and mineral depositions form a pattern similar to a layer cake.
Wind, more than rain, seems to be a stronger eroding element in this northwestern Danxia landform.
Colors of the picturesque landscape here have given them the name 'Rainbow Mountains of China'. It is observed that the colors of the rocks appear more beautiful after it rains.
Carving out nature! These spectacular shapes have developed since the Neogene Period (around 23 million years ago).
Although the Danxia landform, at six various sites in China, is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage List, the Zhangye Danxia of Gansu is not one of them.
The impact of tectonic collision, uplift, and crumbling of the continental crust having layers of sediments has given this 'hand-painted-hill' look to the landform.