A mountain is never far away ! But to see this mountain range of densely packed layers of minerals I have travelled 36 hours by train to far west China. The Rainbow Rocks are dramatically striated into a layer cake of magenta, maroon, and lemon-colored stone.
The uniquely perfect lines of minerals and red stone rocks are located in the Zhangye Danxia, a Geological Park in Gansu province, China. Danxia was mapped by Chinese archaeologists in the 1920s and 30s, and it remained relatively unknown outside of the region—but that’s quickly changing. It received protection as a UNESCO heritage site in 2009.
How did Danxia come to be, in the geological sense? Here’s the story, as I read it at http://gizmodo.com/: Over millions of years, layers of different types of rock—including red sandstone and a whole lot of mineral deposits—formed on top of one another. Normal so far. But then, 40 or 50 million years ago, gigantic force of tectonic plates forced an island—the future India—into a collision course with the rest of Eurasia.
The catastrophic impact took place in slow motion: Over 50 million years, India—moving at about 27 feet per century—crushed into the larger continent, creating rifts of fractured rock and creating mountain ranges like the Himalayas. Over in the future Chinese province of Gansu, the collision disrupted the layer cake of red rock and minerals, too. Imagine a piece of paper with lines drawn on it—then imagine crumpling it up. The “rainbow” patterns we see at Danxia are the result of a similar crumpling, which explains their perfect striation.
more information about Danxia :http://gizmodo.com/these-rainbow-mountains-are-chinas-secret-geological-w-1486764277
Photo’s by Daily Linda