China’s Super-Saturated And Striped Mountains Are Real

These “rainbow mountains” are yet another example of what Mother Nature can create

This collection of colorfully striped mountains is real
It’s hard to believe that this collection of colorfully striped mountains is real. Sure, some amount of photo manipulation may have awoken the rich hues, but even the un-retouched images paint a pretty picture. Located in China’s Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, these “rainbow mountains” are yet another wondrous example of what Mother Nature can create. The formations’ stripes are most vivid after a rainstorm or as the sun enters or leaves the sky.

With enough time, anything is possible–even this 400-square-kilometer section of striped mountains. 24 million years ago, red sandstone and mineral deposits formed layers that compressed and underwent metamorphism, speckling the Chinese landscape with a “layer cake” of blues, reds and yellows. Erosion worked against the formation, carving liffs, valleys and natural pillars into the earth, adding the array of textures and patterns that now characterize the region’s mountains.

Danxia topography refers to landforms in China that form due to the ways that erosion, weather and uplift transform red sandstone. These unique geological features have been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2010, thanks to the striped mountains’ great natural beauty and their illustration of the forces and processes that created them.

Although there are already four scenic viewing platforms for tourists to experience China’s colorfully striped mountains, Zhangye is said to be building more amenities to accommodate tourists in the region. If you liked these incredible mountains, you’ll love our list of the world’s most unbelievable places.


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