Karst towers, the rocky formations by the Li river in China near Guilin, are truly natural wonders.


By jacklee




By Karamochi


by bouti blog

Below is the town of Guilin.


By eric finlanson


Guilin rice harvest.

 The following image is so striking, I had to check to make sure it was real.  The story that goes with it makes it even more striking.   Here’s a description by photographer Michael Anderson at his website.  ” I wandered alone on the riverbanks and met a cormorant fisherman who showed me his traditional methods. They fish at night and the lantern attracts fish toward the raft so the cormorant can dive in and catch them. The fishermen tie a loose string around the cormorant’s neck so they can’t swallow it completely, and the men pull out the fish and store them in a basket. This method of fishing has existed for over a thousand years.


The Guilin tower karsts are an example of karst topography,  land formations caused by rainwater combining with carbon dioxide in the air to become slightly acidic.

The acidic water works its way into any crack, fault or fissure in limestone rock and chemically erodes the rock.  Over time, the openings caused by the acidic rain are widened into passages or caves and initial trickles of water become streams.  Sometimes the cave ceiling collapses forming  sinkholes or a cenotes.

The following are examples of the breathtaking variety of karst  topography from images taken around the planet.

Viet Nam, Halong bay

By steve vidler

Viet Nam

Viet Nam

By Paul Smit

Viet Nam

Viet Nam

Viet Nam

by Michael Buckley

Karst Forest, Madagascar

Via Flatrock.org

Haiti Karst

By Tequila Minsky

Bryce Canyon Karst, Utah


El Torcal de Antequera,  Spain

El Torcal de Antequera,  Spain

Shilin, South China

Akiyoshidai Karst pinnacles in Mine, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan

Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, U.S.A.

Mammoth Cave is the longest cave in the world, with over 350 miles explored so far.

 Corn karst, Chocolate Hills, Philippines

Australia, Nambung National Park

Sarisarinama sinkholes of Venezuela

Large sinkhole, Mitchell Plain, Indiana

 Sinkholes, Winslow, Arizona, U.S.A.

 The Zacatón cenote, Mexico

The “islands” in this cenote are made of floating reeds.

Thanks to Bukisa and DarkRoastedBlend

12 thoughts on “Karst Topography: from misty mountains to caves and sinkholes

  1. Wow! Oh, Dusky–these are marvelous! And I have learned another word–karst, and I never knew. The top photos of China are so wonderful…

  2. Thanks for bringing us to Guelin! It’s totally amazing, and really as beautiful and eerie and mystical as it looks. When I was there with my Dad in 1980, kept having to pinch myself to believe it actually looked like that. My parents read us a story when we were children , Ping the Duck, of a bird like the one you’ve included , with a duckling that was sent out to hunt fish with a choker, got called back to the boat with his ‘finds’, and spanked because he was late to come back home.

  3. Pingback: Limestone: Karst Landscapes « creationscience4kids

  4. Thanks to the many photographers that brought the far away world to us that could not go. I am 91 now and I spend many hours a day traveling the world.

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