Danxia landform refers to various landscapes found in southeast, southwest and northwest China that “consist of a red bed characterized by steep cliffs”. It is a unique type of petro-graphic geomorphology found in China. Danxia landform is formed from red-coloured sandstones and conglomerates of largely Cretaceous age. Danxia landforms cover several provinces in southeast China.
Taining County, Fujian Province has very good examples of “young” danxia landforms wherein deep, narrow valleys have been formed. As the landform gets older, valleys widen and one gets isolated towers and ridges. The danxia landform is named after Mount Danxia, one of the most famous examples of the danxia landform.
A very peculiar feature of danxia landscape is the development of numerous caves of various sizes and shapes. The caves tend to be shallow and isolated, unlike true karst terrain where caves tend to form deep, interconnecting networks.
Danxia Mountain has a long development history with plentiful senses and sights of cultural interest. Our ancestors used to live near Danxia Mountain long ago, and there are skull fossils of famous Maba Man in the southwest of Danxia basin, which are important clues for studying the early human.
At the same time, cultural relics of the ancient people lived 6,000 years ago in Meolithic Age remained in Shixia Cultural Relic in Shizi Cliff. The catfish fossil unearthed from a relic of Neolithic Age in the southeast shows that about 5,000 years ago the evolution level of this similar to that of the Central Plains.
Since ancient times, many fantastic stories and popular legends, such as Nuwa (a goddess in Chinese mythology) patches the sky with multihued stone, have been spread widely, which not only are historical stories, but also have exerted influence on the local culture and history.
The materials that form Danxia landform were basically formed in 70-90Ma cretaceous red fluviolacustrine sandstone and conglomerate. Before about 65Ma, the area was influenced by a tectonic movement, and many faults and joins were formed, allowing the whole Danxia basin to become an erosion area.
The Himalayan movement started at about 23Ma ago resulted in rapid uplift of the area. During the long years, intermittent uplift movements lead to an earth-shaking change in the area, and these geological processes have changed the area into a very beautiful landscape.
China Danxia is the name given in China to landscapes developed on continental red terrigenous sedimentary beds influenced by endogenous forces (including uplift) and exogenous forces (including weathering and erosion). It is characterised by spectacular red cliffs and a range of erosion landforms, including dramatic natural pillars, towers, ravines, valleys and waterfalls.
The process of its development is characterised by a particular rock sequence, tectonic background, climatic conditions, erosional processes and landforms and these processes have been presented as an interim model.
China Danxia contains a wide variety of well developed red-beds landforms such as peaks, towers, mesas, cuestas, cliffs, valleys, caves and arches. Being shaped by both endogenous forces (including uplift) and exogenous forces (including weathering and erosion), China Danxia provides a range of different aspects of the phenomenon of physical landscape developed from continental (terrestrial) reddish conglomerate and sandstone in a warm, humid monsoon climate, illustrating both the range of landforms in relation to the forces and processes that formed them.