The Earliest Chinese Karstologist Xu Xiake
Prvega pravega znanstvenega raziskovanja krasa in jam na območju južne Kitajske se je lotil Xu Xiake (1587 - 1641). Kras je proučeval več kot trideset let ter obiskal preko 300 jam. Svoja popotovanja po skoraj polovici ozemlja tedanjega kitajskega cesarstva je opisal v knjigi ≈Xu Xiakejeva potovanja« (≈Xu Xiake youji«), ki je bila prvič objavljena leta 1642. Velja za najzgodnejše razprave o krasu in je napisana v obliki dnevnih zapiskov. Opisal je podzemne reke in jezera, vodne vire, narisal je tlorise nekaterih jam in zabeležil njihove vhode ter opisal različne oblike speleotemov, načine plezanja po jamah in metode raziskovanja jam. Prvi je opisal različne tipe tropskega krasa ter se osredotočil na značilnosti in vzroke nastanka stolpastih vzpetin. V literaturo je vpeljal izraz fēnglín (gozd vrhov). Zato Xu Xiake ni oče moderne speleologije, krasoslovja, geomorfologije in geografije le v kitajskem merilu, temveč tudi v svetovnem.
The first real scientific exploration of karst and karst caves in south China was undertaken by Xu Xiake (1587 - 1641). Chinese karst was studied by Xu Xiake for more than thirty years. He described his journeys to almost half of the territory of the Ming dynasty in his book ˝Xu Xiake's travels˝ (˝Xu Xiake youji˝), that was first published in 1642. He dedicated a lot of time to the research of the underground world by describing subterranean rivers and lakes as water resources. He also made ground plans of some caves, marked their entrances and described different shapes of speleothems. He first described different ways of climbing in caves and methods for cave research. Altogether he visited over 300 caves. Xu Xiake first described different types of the tropical karst and focused on the characteristics and reasons of the tower hills origin. He introduced the term fenglin (peak forest), which is still used in the scientific literature. However, he is not only the father of the modern speleology, karstology, geomorphology and geography in the Chinese scale but in a worldwide sense.
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