World’s Most Impressive Karsts Formations
By: nobert bermosa
Hundreds of magnificent karsts formations are scattered the world over. Karsts topography is a landscape shaped by the dissolution of a layer or layers of soluble bedrock usually carbonate rock such as limestone or dolomite. Here are the most spectacular karsts topography from all over the world.
The Globe: Scotland
The Globe is part of the Knockan Crag, a line of cliffs in Assynt, Scotland. The name means “crag of the small hill”. The
Moine Thrust runs through the crag and there is a small visitor center providing interpretation and artwork that explains
the background to the “Highlands Controversy” concerning the geology of the area.
Phong Nha – Ke Bang: Vietnam/Laos
Phong Nha – Ke Bang, which is located in Vietnam and Laos, is one of the world’s two largest karsts regions with 300
caves and grottoes with a total length of 70 km and also protects the ecosystem of limestone forest. Phong Nha holds
several world cave records, as it has the longest underground river, as well as the largest caverns and passageways.
The park derives it name from Phong Nha cave, the most beautiful of all, containing many fascinating rock formations,
and Ke Bang forest. It is created as a national park and was listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 2003 for its
Carlsbad Caverns National Park: USA
In the western hemisphere, some of the most impressive karsts formations can be found in the Carlsbad Caverns
National Park, a US National Park, situated in Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico.
It has 21 named rooms where you can see magnificent and various kinds of karsts formations. Weekends following
Memorial Day and the 4th of July are the time of the year where peak visitation occurs. The park entrance is located on
US Highway 62/180 approximately 18 miles or 29 km southwest of Carlsbad, New Mexico. The park participates in the
Junior Ranger Program.
The Stone Forest: China
These karsts formations are part of South China Karst, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as Shilin, which literally
means “Stone Forest”. It is a notable set of karst formations in China. The tall rocks seem to emanate from the ground
in the manner of stalagmites, with many looking like trees made of stone, creating the illusion of a forest made of stone.
UNESCO describes the South China Karst as “unrivalled in terms of the diversity of its karst features and landscapes.”
Moon Hill: China
This popular tourist attraction called Moon Hill or Moon Mountain is a hill with a natural arch through it in southern
China’s Guangxi autonomous region. It is so named for a wide, semicircular hole through the hill, all that remains of
what was once a limestone cave formed in the phreatic zone. Like most formations in the region, it is karst.
Pic d’Anie: France
This 2,507 meters high peak known as Pic d’Anie in the Pyrenees of France is located very close to the border with
Spain. Surrounding the almost perfectly pyramidal Pic d’Anie is the spectacular karst landscape of Larra, in the Larra-
Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve: Madagascar
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the unique geography, preserved mangrove forests, and wild bird
and lemur populations is the Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve. It is a nature reserve located close to the
western coast of Madagascar. Since 1990, the southern end of the protected area has been changed into a national
park covering 666 km². The northern end of this protected area complex remains as a strict nature reserve covering
Elephant Trunk Hill: China
The Elephant Trunk Hill is a landmark and tourist attraction in Guilin, Guangxi, China.
El Nido: Philippines
The limestone islands of El Nido located in Palawan, Philippines offer a magnificent view of karsts formations and
many other natural wonders like white sand beaches, spectacular diving sites, cool and blue water and many others.
El Nido is one of the most famous tourist destinations in the Philippines. It is a 1st class municipality and managed
resource protected area in the province of Palawan in the Philippines.
Malham Cove: England
Malham Cove is a natural limestone formation near Malham, North Yorkshire, England. A well-known beauty spot, it
comprises a huge, curved limestone cliff at the head of a valley, with a fine area of limestone pavement at the top.
Akiyoshi Plateau or Akiyoshidai: Japan
The Akiyoshi Plateau or Akiyoshidai is a 130 square kilometre area of karst topography in Yamaguchi Prefecture at the
extreme western end of Honshu Island, Japan. Much of the area was protected as a Quasi National Park in 1955, and
a portion is a Special Natural Monument. Akiyoshidai is served by a natural history museum, visitor center, resthouse,
youth hostel and park headquarters building, and is traversed by a scenic roadway and several walking trails. Events
include a fireworks festival in July, a Karst Walk in November, and an annual burning off of dry grasses in February
Jenolan Caves: Australia
The Jenolan Caves are an example of remarkable caverns in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, Australia. They
are the most celebrated of several similar groups in the limestone of the country being the oldest discovered open
caves in the world. They include numerous Silurian marine fossils of great interest and the calcite formations, some-
times pure white, are of extraordinary beauty. Major portions of the caves have been rendered easily accessible to paying
visitors and are well lit.
Ciudad Encantada: Spain
The Ciudad Encantada or Enchanted City is a geological site near Cuenca, Spain in which the erosive forces of weather
and the waters of the nearby Jucar River have formed rocks into distinctive and memorable shapes. The rock formations
that have been named include: Seta (Mushroom), Puente (Bridge), Cara (Face), Convento (Convent), Olas en el mar
(Waves in the sea), Teatro (Theatre), Hipopotamos (Hippopatami), and Amantes (Lovers).
El Torcal de Antequera: Spain
One of the most impressive karst landscapes in Europe is El Torcal de Antequera, a nature reserve in the Sierra del
Torcal mountain range located south of the city of Antequera, in the province of Malaga, Andalucia, Spain. It is known
for its unusual landforms. The area was designated a Natural Site of National Interest in July 1929, and a Natural Park
Reserve of about 17 square kilometers was created in October 1978.
These karsts formations are famous for for there are approximately 3,100 tall quartzite sandstone pillars and some over
800 meters in height. Wulingyuan is a scenic and historic interest area in Hunan Province, China. It was designated a
UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992.Well, what are you waiting for? Pack your things and travel around the world and
see for yourself these beautiful and unique karst formations.
For more amazing geological formations see