Major stone forest, litomorphogenesis and development of typical shilin (Yunnan, China)


  • Martin Knez Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZU
  • Tadej Slabe Karst Research Institute ZRC SAZU, Titov trg 2, Postojna
  • Hong Liu Yunnan International Karst Environmental Laboratory, Xueyun rd. 5, CN-650223, Kunming Yunnan Institute of Geography, Yunnan University, Xuefu rd. 20, CN-650223 Kunming, Yunnan



Major stone forest excellently reveals most characteristics of the formation of the various stone forests. The relatively thick stratification and evenly composed rock clearly display the development of stone forests from subsoil karren. This is evident from the shape of individual parts of the stone forest and the shape and rock relief of pillars that comprise the forest. It is the most typical example of development of karren from subsoil to rain and vegetation exposed stone forest. With it we can compare stone forests shaped on different rock and geomorphological and hydrological conditions. Type of rock is clearly reflected in the intensity of corrosion and erosion and with it in the formation and morphological appearance of individual stone pillars and larger blocks of rock. The rock relief on the pillars in stone forests reveals the interwoven traces of the original shaping of the rock below soil and sediment, of the lowering of the level of soil and sediment, and of the younger but distinct transformation of pillars by rainwater, which naturally dominates on the tops. The exceptional character and picturesqueness of this karst phenomenon is the reason for the successful developmentof the stone forest as an international tourist attraction that was deservedly placed on the UNESCO world heritage list.


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How to Cite

Knez, M., Slabe, T., & Liu, H. (2012). Major stone forest, litomorphogenesis and development of typical shilin (Yunnan, China). Acta Carsologica, 41(2-3).



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