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.