Scientists have recently discovered an entire forest inside a 630 foot deep giant sinkhole in China.
The sinkhole contains a load of ancient trees and plants that could well include some species that have never been discovered before.
Located in Leye County, in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in China, the sinkhole was discovered by cave explorers on 6 May, who found three cave entrances inside the 1,004 feet long and 492 feet wide void.
Speaking to Live Science, expedition leader Chen Lixin said: “I wouldn’t be surprised to know that there are species found in these caves that have never been reported or described by science until now”. He added that some the trees found in the forest were nearly 130 foot tall.
George Veni, the executive director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute, told Live Science that differences in geology, climate and other factors meant that karst – a terrain that’s dissolving bedrock can result in such sinkholes – can be dramatically different depending on where it is.
“In China you have this incredibly visually spectacular karst with enormous sinkholes and giant cave entrances and so forth.
“In other parts of the world you walk out on the karst and you really don’t notice anything. Sinkholes might be quite subdued, only a meter or two in diameter.
“Cave entrances might be very small, so you have to squeeze your way into them.”