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Solar System and Earth

2015-03-23 18:04 | Author:gzzjd | Reading:amount |



Solar System
The Solar System formed around 5 billion years ago from the gravitational collapse of a giant molecular cloud through complex nebula movements including shrinking, condensing, rotating and heating. The Sun formed first in the center of the system and the eight major planets followed. The Solar System comprises the Sun, eight major planets, satellites, dwarf planets, asteroids, comets, meteoroids and interplanetary media, with the maximum range of over 1 light year. The principal component of the Solar System is the Sun, which contains 99.865% of the system's known mass and dominates it gravitationally. The eight major planets have almost circular orbits that lie within a nearly flat disc called the ecliptic plane, and they orbit the Sun in the same direction that the Sun is rotating.
 
Earth
Earth, is a planet in the Solar System, about 150 million kilometers from the Sun, accommodating water, air and life, and intensely protected by atmosphere and magnetic field. It is the homeland for people. It ranks the fifth of the eight major planets according to its volume and mass. The Earth originated in the primitive solar nebula 4.6 billion years ago. In those primeval days, it had no layered structure due to the low temperature. Later, the temperature increased as a result of gravitational differentiation and radioactive element transformation. As the interior mass heated up to the molten state, siderophile elements with a large proportion sank to become the iron-nickel core of the Earth; chalcophile elements and lithophile elements rose to become the mantle and the crust; and the lighter liquid and gaseous components escaped to the surface through volcanic eruption and formed the primeval hydrosphere and atmosphere.
 
 Structure and movement of Earth
Internal and external sphere of Earth
 
The Earth turns on a typical Internal and external sphere. The external sphere is composed of constantly circulating atmosphere, ever-changing hydrosphere and flourishing biosphere. The internal sphere includes three main parts: rigid crust, solid mantle and ion-nickel-rich core. The crust is separated from the mantle by the “Moho discontinuity”, and the mantle is separated from the core by the “Gutenberg discontinuity”. The upper part of the crust and the mantle is made up of rocks, thus it is called the lithosphere by geologists.
 
Movement of Earth
People always think the Earth is firm and stable so that there are expressions of admiration like “as firm as a rock” and “as stable as Mount Tai”. In fact, the internal movement and variation of the Earth have never stopped for a moment, and the ground under our feet has never stopped changing.
 
The continents are drifting: In early 20th century, Alfred Lothar Wegener, a German meteorologist, noticed that “The continental margin of America is very similar to that of Africa. They could fit closely to each other when they are near”. On the basis of the similarity and continuity of fossils, strata, rocks and geological structures, he further presented that both sides of the Atlantic Ocean were once joined together in a uniform pangea (primal continent). The pangea has began to break and drift apart since 200 million years ago, and has gradually formed the land-sea distribution pattern nowadays.
 
The seafloor is spreading: In the early 1960s, Harry Hess (1962) and Robert Sinclair Die (1961) put forth almost simultaneously a similar point of view by mass of evidence from submarine investigation materials and paleomagnetism that, fractures occurred at the mid oceanic ridge of seafloor, through which mantle magma rose up and cooled into new oceanic lithosphere, at the same time, older rocks were pushed towards both sides symmetrically at the speed of 1-10 centimeters per year, resulting in the spreading of seafloor; on the other hand, when the spread oceanic lithosphere reached the oceanic trench at the margins of continental plates, it subducted under the continental lithosphere and was destroyed into the mantle. This is the seafloor spreading which is referred to as the geological epic.
 
Plates are moving: As an egg shell is broken up into pieces, the lithosphere of the Earth is composed of 17 tectonic plates, of which there are six major ones (Eurasian plate, Pacific plate, Indian Ocean plate, African plate, American plate and Antarctic plate). These giant plates move in relation to one another by subduction, friction and extrusion. They are in constant motion. This process activates earthquakes and volcanoes, dominates mineral formation and land-sea distribution, and affects life process. Plate movement, therefore, is the most important form of earth movement.

When two plates extrude each other, the crust will be pushed upward. The movement of these two plates is known as “convergence”. This process can lead to violent earthquakes or form majestic mountains.
 
When a thin and dense oceanic plate slides beneath a thick and less dense continental plate, violent earthquakes or volcanic eruption will occur.
 
Formation of mountains: One of the most magnificent phenomena on land is thousands of kilometers extending high mountains. It is widely accepted that the vast majority of mountains are formed by the collision or subduction of lithosphere plates, for example, the Himalayas is just the outcome of the strong uplift caused by the subduction and collision of Indian Ocean plate to the Eurasian plate.
 
Embodiments of Earth movement
From the beginning of the Earth till today, the Earth’s crust has never stopped moving. Except the instantaneous movements like earthquakes, most crustal movements are extremely slow. The folds and fractures saved in rock layers always embody the divine power of crustal movements in ancient times.
 
Fold: The term fold is used when rocks or rock layers are bent or curved as a result of plate tectonics. When two forces act towards each other from opposite sides, rock layers are bent into folds. Folds can be divided into two kinds of structure: anticline and syncline. They vary greatly in form. The common forms of fold are upright folds, inclined folds and overturned fold.
 
Fracture: Fractures are commonly caused by stress exceeding the rock strength, causing the rock to lose cohesion along its weakest plane. A fracture is any separation in a geologic formation, such as a fissure, a joint or a fault. A joint is a break of a rock or a rock layer that lacks any visible or measurable movement. A fault is a break with discontinuity in rock layers, across which there has been significant displacement along the fractures. Faults can be divided into normal faults, reverse faults, and strike-slip faults.
 
Endogenous and Exogenous Geological Processes
Volcanic action: It is a general term which means underground magma erupting out of the Earth’s surface through channels and affecting the natural world. It includes both the damage to the ground and the impact on the underground, such as causing earthquakes and changing the features of the Earth’s surface to form various landforms including the lava plateau, volcanic cone, volcanic graben and volcano-tectonic depression; spewing out carbonic acid gas, volcanic ash and other gases to change the composition and process of atmosphere; isolating volcanic water to increasing the quality of the Earth’s hydrosphere; rising the temperature of groundwater to form the hot spring, mineral spring and multi-spouted geyser; and improving the migration of .the Earth’s interior elements to form ore deposits. Some of these effects occur during volcanic eruptions, the others have an influence for a long period of time before and after eruptions.
 
Weathering: It is the breaking down of rocks (soil and minerals as well as artificial materials) through contact with the Sun, the Earth's atmosphere, waters and biota. Weathering occurs in situ. Many unusual landscapes can be produced in the process of weathering.
 
Seismic action: It is a structural dynamic process caused by the fast tremor and violent movements of the Earth’s crust. There are both horizontal seismic action and vertical seismic action.
 
Denudation: It is the long-term sum of processes caused by exogenic forces in motion such as wind, surface flow, groundwater, glacier, lake, ocean and bio, leading to the wearing away of the rocks on the Earth’s surface and the weathering products. Denudation can be categorized into mechanical denudation and chemical denudation. Mechanical denudation is the processes caused by exogenic forces such as wind, running water, glacier, lake and ocean, which leads to the grinding and stripping of rocks and weathering products. Chemical denudation is the processes caused by running water, groundwater, lake and ocean, which leads to the dissolving away of rocks. There are special terms for the denudation of rocks caused by different exogenic forces, such as blastation and abrasion by wind, sheet erosion by surface slope flow, glacial plucking (by glacier), dissolution by groundwater and erosion by sea wave.
 
Transportation: It is the movement of surface and near-surface weathering products (such as rock debris and dissolved matters), which is driven by exogenic forces. It plays a major part in shaping the Earth’s surface. The exogenic forces include water flow, water wave, tidal flow, ocean current, glacier, groundwater, wind and biological process. In the process of transporting, wind transport is best for the selective transport of weathering products, and glacial transport the worst. The mode of transporting consists mainly of displacement (sliding and rolling), saltation, suspension and solution transfer. The mode of transporting varies by transport force.

Sedimentation: After being transported to an appropriate place by moving media, substances deposit and accumulate due to the changed condition. This process is called sedimentation. The layered rock formed in the process of sedimentating is called sedimentary rock. Land and ocean are the largest sedimentary units on the Earth’s surface. The sedimentary environments of the former includes fluvial facies, laggonal facies and glacial facies, and the latter includes littoral facies, neritic facies, bathyal facies, and abyssal facies. Although the sedimentary areas are complex, the mode of sedimentating can be basically categorized into three groups: mechanical sedimentation, chemical sedimentation and biological sedimentation.
 
Plate Tectonics
Plate Tectonics is a geological theory that explains how the continents move. According to this theory, the Earth's lithosphere is composed of tectonic plates, of which there are six major ones, and the location of land and sea is constantly changing. This theory builds on two independent geological observations: seafloor spreading and continental drift.
 
Continental Drift and Plate Movement
The theory of continental drift was advanced by a German scientist Alfred Lothar Wegener in his research paper in 1912, with the focus on the large-scale parallel movements of the Earth's continents relative to each other, thus appearing to "drift" across the ocean bed, which is called continental drift. According to this theory, all the continents were once joined together before Mesozoic in a single giant landmass (which is called “pangea” or “united paleo-continent”), and have drifted apart since Mesozoic and have gradually been located where they are now.

The Founding Father of the Theory of Continental Drift

Alfred Lothar Wegener, a German meteorologist, geophysicist and astronomer, was the first person who used the phrase "continental drift" and formally published the hypothesis that the continents had drifted apart. He was born in Berlin on November 1st, 1880 and died during his Greenland expedition for the study of ice sheet in November, 1930. Alfred Lothar Wegener first thought of the idea of continental drift in 1910 and advanced it in his scientific paper in 1912. In The Origin of Continents and Oceans, he fully developed the famous theory of continental drift. Thirty years after his death, the theory of plate tectonics won recognition the world over and people finally admitted that the theory of continental drift was scientifically justified. Thus it can be seen that a correct theory at its early stage is usually rejected as a mistake or denied as an opposite point of view to religion, whereas it is accepted as a creed at its later stages. In any case, Wegener has been honored by us till today. It is not because he was posthumously regarded as a prominent figure, but because he had a scientific spirit and devoted all his life to pursuing the truth, envisaging the reality, and exploring without fear.
 
Internal Sphere of Earth
 
The internal sphere of the Earth consists of three parts: crust, mantle and core. The Earth’s crust is the outermost layer of the solid Earth’ spheres. It is composed of a great variety of rocks. The upper part of the Earth’s crust comes into contact with the atmosphere, the biosphere and the hydrosphere, of which the bottom reaches down to the Mohorovičić discontinuity. The thickness of the crust varies around the globe, averaging 33 kilometers on the continents generally. The mantle of the Earth exists between the crust and the core, with a thickness of about 2860 kilometers. The core of the Earth is a spheroid, with a radius from the Gutenberg discontinuity to the center of the Earth of around 3473 kilometers.
 
Gutenberg discontinuity, is the core-mantle boundary, observed by a German-American geophysicist Beno Gutenberg with seismic waves in 1914. The boundary is defined via the discontinuity in seismic wave velocities at that depth. The seismic wave velocities suddenly decrease when crossing the boundary layer, which indicates that the core matters beneath the Gutenberg discontinuity is liquid.
 
Mohorovičić discontinuity, is the mantle-crust boundary, observed by a seismologist from the former Yugoslavia Andrija Mohorovičić with seismic waves in 1909. The seismic wave velocities suddenly increase when crossing the boundary layer.

Schematic view of the interior of the Earth

External Sphere of Earth
 
The external sphere of the Earth consists of three parts: atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. The Earth’s atmosphere consists of gas surrounding the solid surface of the Earth, with a thickness of tens of thousands of kilometers. The gas of atmosphere becomes denser as it gets closer to the ground. 99% of the atmosphere’s gaseous material is contained within the first 100 kilometers. The Earth’s hydrosphere is the waters on the Earth’s surface, 97.2% of which is the oceans, 2.2% of which is the ice mass at the Earth’s poles and high mountains, and only 0.6% of which is rivers and lakes on the Earth’s surface as well as groundwater. The Earth’s biosphere consists of the living substances on the Earth’s surface, with a distribution extending to the scope of the atmosphere and the hydrosphere. The biomes can exist both in the sky as high as 10 kilometers from the Earth’s surface and at the bottom of deep seas, but the vast majority of them are concentrated on the land surface and in sallow seawaters. In the lithosphere, the traces of life in ancient times are even preserved.
 
Composition of Earth and Geological Time

The solid crust of the Earth is mainly composed of minerals, and rocks are also made up of minerals. The composition of minerals is simple chemical elements and other compounds. During the evolution of the crust, the (occurrence) states of rocks, minerals and elements keep changing. In the long geological history, the crust has experienced a variety of geological events, which have just constituted the development and evolution of the crust. To figure out the time and sequence of these geological events is to determine the geological time. In accordance with the fossil and rock characteristics in strata, scientists divide the history of the Earth into different stages. In the geological time scale, the maximum time unit is eon, which is followed by era, period, epoch, age and year.
 
Element Composition
 
Minerals
Mineral is the homogenous solid produced naturally. It is the product of various geological processes and the basic component of rock. Minerals all have certain chemical components and can be expressed by chemical formula.
Minerals are divided into the following categories: native element mineral, sulfides and their similar compound, haloid deposit, oxide and hydroxide mineral, oxysalt mineral (including silicate, borate, carbonate, phosphate, arsenate, vanadate, sulfate, tungstate, molybdate, nitrate, and chromate minerals, etc.). Among them, silicate mineral has the most varieties, accounting for 24% of the total mineral varieties, and the weight of silicate mineral reaches 75% of the total weight of crust.
 
Sedimentary rock
 
Sedimentary rock is the stratified rock formed by whethering,biologicl action and some volcanism are carried, sedimented and lithified by running water, ocean, glacier, wind, gravity,etc.under normal temperature and pressure in the condition of the earth surface and near the earth surface. Sedimentary rocks mainly distribute on the earth’s surface.
 
Magmatic Rock
When high-temperature and molten magma cools and solidifies on beneath or the Earth’s surface, it forms magmatic rocks, which are also called igneous rocks.
 
Metamorphic Rock
Metamorphic rock is a rock that was once one form of rock but has changed to another in texture, structure and mineral composition under the influence of geological processes including crustal movement and magmatic activity. Metamorphism is mainly the mineral crystal recrystallization within the rock and the exchange of components with the surrounding material.
 
Rocks
Rocks are the basic components of the crust and the most important constituents of the earth’s lithosphere. According to its formation ways, rocks comprises three categories: igneous rocks (magmatic rocks), sedimentary rocks and metamorphic rocks, which are the products of magmatism, exogenic geological process and metamorphism, respectively. The three rock categories may be interconverted to each other due to the changes of geological conditions, i.e., any rock category can be converted to another rock category.
 
Rock Cycle

Strata and Fossil
A stratum is natural records of the development of the Earth’s crust. In general, a stratum on the top deposits later than the stratum below it, and the former is younger than the latter. At the same location, different strata represent the different periods of deposition. Besides, fossils usually occur in strata. Different strata contain different fossils. Scientists determine the geological age of strata by analyzing the fossils in the strata.
 
Fossil Formation
①Soft parts of a deceased organism were depleted by saprophagous animals, insects and bacteria and then decomposed in a few weeks.
②Hard parts such as bones and teeth were buried by sand silt in water.
③Tens of thousands of years later, layers of sand and mud were compressed and hardened into rocks, and animal bones became fossils.
④As drastic changes take place in the geological history, the fossils buried in strata are found during the denudation of rocks.
 
Geological Time Scale
 
Ichthyosaur
Kueichousaurus
Crinoid

Regional stratigraphic column of Zhijindong Cave Geopark, Guizhou province
 
River and geologic process of river

River and river landform
A general term of natural running water inside linear grooves on the earth’s surface. It has different names like Jiang, He, Chuan, Xi, Jian, Zangbu, Guole, etc. in China
Water in the river goes through erosion, transportation and sedimentation, and forms into valley, flood plain,  alluvial fan, delta and other landforms, etc. which are collectively referred to as river landform.

Morphologic change of river valley
Seen from the overall river basin, river valleys at upstream are narrow and with many waterfalls. River valleys at midstream are wider and flood plain and terrace are developed. River valleys at downstream are wide and shallow with smaller gradient, and many meanders and distributary are formed while deltas and esteros are formed at the estuary section.

River valley
Viewing from the transverse section of river valley, it can be divided into valley bottom and valley slope.
Valley bottom: includes river bed and flood plain.
River bed:the valley bottom part of river valley where the water flow occupies during dry season.
Flood plain:the valley bottom part submerged during flood period of river apart from the river bed.
Valley slope: bank slopes on the two sides of river valley, and terrace is often developed.
Shoulder (valley edge): the intersection between valley slope and original moutain slope or ground.
 
River terrace
The river erodes in the down-cutting way and the former river valley bottom (flood plain or riverbed) goes beyond the general flood level, and are distributed on the valley walls in a ladder manner, such landform is called as river terrace.
 
River capture
Also called stream piracy. The rivers in neighbouring drainage basin have different erosion velocity. For rivers with faster velocity, the spreading velocity from source to the watershed is faster, and finally the watershed is cut through, which leads to the upstream of the river on the other side of watershed to pour into this river and become the tributary of this river. This is called river capture. River capture is a phenomenon of development of river system.
After river capture, the river capturing water is called capturing river and the river being captured is called captured river. The downstream of the captured river is called beheaded river because the source is cut off due to route change of the upstream.
 
Types of river erosion
According to the ways of action, river erosion can be divided into: washout(hydraulic washout),abrasion (evorsion) and dissolution.
According to the direction of action, river erosion can be divided into two types: down-cutting erosion and lateral erosion.
Down-cutting erosion is erosion where the water flow is downwardly perpendicular to the ground, and its effect is to deepen riverbed or gully bed.
Lateral erosion is a phenomenon where the river erodes laterally. Its effect is to make the river banks retreat, the valley widen or to form meanders.

Development mode of river landform
Assume that the original landscape of a region is plain, and it is raised by the crustal movement until a certain height. The river will be developed according to the ideal mode of infancy→youth→old age.

Meander
Meander: the landform formed jointly by the concave bank and convex bank of river.
Concave bank: rapid water flow, strong erosion, making the riverway retreat.
Convex bank: slow water flow, intensive accumulation, making river bed flat and shallow.
 
Karstification
 
Karst
The action processes and the phenomena caused therefrom where water conducts chemical erosion (and including erosion effect of running water and gravity, as well as material migration and sedimentation, etc.) on soluble rocks (carbonatite, sulphate rocks and haloid rocks) as the major action process are called karst in general. Therefore, karst can have multiple meaning at different occasions, such as “karst phenomenon”, “Karstification”, etc.
 
Karstification
It generally refers to water and gravity’s corrosion and erosion as well as the transportation and sedimentation of soluble rock, and mainly it is represented by carbonate rocks.During this process, chemical corrosion and mechanic erosion happens simutaneously, supplementing each other. The corrosion of carbonatite is a reversible chemical reaction, referring to the process that the soluble components of carbonatite immigrate into water and are transported in form of ions and molecules under the action of natural water.
When water with dissolved CaCO3 oozes from fissure of stratum, CO2 escapes due to the change of water temperature and pressure, in this way, CaCO3 in aqueous solutions will sediment to form stalactite.
The chemical reaction can be expressed as follows:
 
 Types of karst landform
 
Karst landform
It refers to various corroded, eroded and accumulated forms which are formed by soluble rocks (including carbonatite, sulphate rocks and chloride rocks) through the corrosion, erosion and gravitational collapse of surface water and underground water.
 
Fengcong(i.e.peak cluster) and Fenglin(i.e.peak forest)
Fengcong is composed of lofty cone-shaped peaks on the top and connected foundation bed at the bottom. The relative height is 300-600m and the slope gradient of peaks is 30°-60°.
Fenglin is the many t lofty limestone peaks. The relative height is 100-200m, the diameter is smaller than the height; the slope gradient is steep with most of them above 60°. Fenglin often appear on the flat ground separately or in groups, just like forest and hence the name.
They form the assembly units of two landforms: Fengcong-depression and Fenglin-valley.
 
Types of karst landform
Karst landform is always with jagged rocks and large number of peculiar mountains on the earth’s surface, while densely distributed with underground rivers, and the stalactites in caves are colourful and varied.
The common surface karst landforms include positive landforms like clint, stone forest,fenglin,fengcong and hills, etc.; negative landforms include lapie, hoje, sinkhole, blind valley, dry valley, and depression (including doline, basin), etc.; underground karst landforms include karst cave, underground river and underground lake; and the karst landforms closely related to the surface and underground include vertical shaft, light through cave, natural bridge and tiankeng, etc.
 
Schematic diagram for types of karst landforms
1. Fenglin; 2. Solution depression; 3. Karst basin; 4. Karst plain; 5. Isolated peak; 6. Karst doline; 7. Karst collapse; 8. Karst cave; 9. Underground river; a. Stalactite; b. Stalagmite; c. Column
 
Schematic diagram for surface karst landforms
 
Polje
The word “polje” is originated from Serbian and means “field”, which refers to a seasonal river or a wide area of valley located in the Karst area or the contact zone of karst area and non-karst area. The former one is called polje, and the later is called edge polje. Polje is the “oasis” of a karst area, where people cultivate the land, dwell, live and build their houses.

Tiankeng
Tiankeng, a super-large collapsed doline, is formed by the collapse of large underground river hall. It is usually developed in the carbonatite stratum with huge thick vadose zone, stretching from underground to surface, with its plane width and depth up to more than one hundred meters. Having steep and enclosed palisades and deep well-shape outline, it connects to underground river at the bottom (or there might have underground river before). The ones losing underground river track or whose peripheral wall was damaged can be called degenerated tiankengs.
 
Xiaoluojuan  Tiankeng
 
Natural bridge
After the roofs of underground river and cave collapse, both residual ends connect to the ground yet the middle suspends. This kind of bridge-shape landform is called natural bridge.
 
Underground river and swallet stream
An underground river, also called hidden river, is an underground passage with characteristics of a river. Swallet stream is the segment where ground river flow from the surface to underground. Its main difference from underground river is that an swallet stream has a visible entrance and outlet of flow, while an underground river dose not have. In addition, the water flow in the entrance of a swallet stream is the main source of water flow in its outlet.
 
Distribution of world karst and China karst
The karst distribution area in the world is about 18,000,000 km2, occupying 15% of total land area and the karst distributed is in 40 countries in the world, and almost 1/6 of world population (about one billion people) live in karst areas. The karst distribution area in China is up to 3,440,000 km2, occupying 1/3 of national territorial area, among which, the exposed area of carbonatite takes up 910,000 km2.

The ancient and rigid carbonatite, monsoon climate with water and heat, Cenozoic crust raising upwards and the fact that no erosion occurred during the last glacial period enable China to form all kinds of karsts; especially the karst distribution area reaches 500,000 km2 in south of China, which is the largest contiguous exposed area of carbonatite  in the world. Represented by peak forest- plain, peak cluster- depression, stone forest, karst valley and large-scale ground karst caves, it is a rare and precious “Natural karst archives museum” in the world.
 
Distribution diagram of karst areas in the world
 
Distribution diagram of karst areas in China
 
 Understanding Geology

It refers to the properties and characteristics of the earth or certain part of the earth in general. It includes the constituent material composition, such as properties of stratum and rock mass, features of minerals, physical properties and chemical properties, formation age of rock and stratum, all kinds of tectonism and its phenomena, all kinds of metamorphism and its phenomena, life evolution during the history of the earth recorded in the stratum and occurrence of useful minerals.
 
Origin of the term “geology” in China
In China, the word “geology” first appears in the Book of Zhouyi Zhu· Kun by Wang Bi (226-249) from Wei during the Three Kingdoms period, but its meaning falls in the category of philosophy and is quite different from that of “geology” in modern sciences. As far as is known, the word “geology” with the meaning of modern geological science first appears in DiLi Quanzhi published in 1853 (the third year of the reign of Xianfeng Emperor in the Qing Dynasty).
 
Chinese ancient geological thoughts and geologists
 
Ancient books
Yu Gong, Shanhaijing and Guanzi are the earliest batch of writings concerning geography, geology, hydrology and meteorology completed in the Spring and Autumn Period and Warring States Period (770-221B.C.).
 
Earth Science
Earth Science is one of six basic natural sciences: mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronantic, geoscience and biology. Its study object is solid earth, with emphasis in lithosphere (the solid part above the asthenosphere), and at the same time include the atmosphere (gases surrounding the earth), hydrosphere (water body on the earth surface), biosphere (the origin and evolution of creatures, relationship between organisms and the earth environment),the interrelation among spheres, and the origin of the earth and the solar system, etc.
 
Zhang Heng in the Eastern Han Dynasty
Zhang Heng (78~139), a distinguished scientist in the Eastern Dynasty, created the first seismograph in the world-Hou Feng Di Dong Yi (instrument for measuring the earthquake) in 132 and measured out the Longxi earthquake occurring 650km away by using this seismograph in 138.

Xu Hongzu in the Ming Dynasty
Xu Xiake Youji (i.e.Travels of Xu Xiake) is an investigation and documenting work, written by Xu Hongzu (1586-1641) in the Ming Dynasty. This writing has made valuable recordings about karst, volcano, hot spring, hydrology, landform, minerals, etc. in many regions of China. Therein, detailed recording and exploration about the karst landform were at the advanced level in the world at that time, and is the earliest work with a systematic discussion about the limestone landform.

Song Yingxing (1587—1661 ?) in the Ming Dynasty
Tian Gong Kai Wu(i.e.Exploitation of the Work of Nature) is written by Song Yingxing (1587—1661 ?) in the Ming Dynasty. The writing detailedly records the origin, form and properties of non-metallic minerals; and proposes the earlier coal classification method in the world according to the hardness and volatility of coal; especially discusses the mining engineering technology in China for the first time in a systematic way, with detailed description about the mineral mining, timbering under the shaft, ventilation, mine filling, mineral washing, etc.
 
Geology
A science that studies earth. It studies the constituent material composition, internal structures and surface features of earth (currently mainly studying the crust of earth), all kinds of geological processes during the development history of earth as well as forms of life once living on the earth and their evolution.

Karst gorges
In karst area, formed jointly under actions like new tectonic raising upwards, intense erosion and corrosion by water flow as well as collapse, the valley with steep brae and larger depth than its width is generally called karst gorge. It is a karst regional synthesis including karst gorge landform and coexisted peaks, body of water, rocks and organisms. In carbonatite distribution area, because the fault, fissure and joint are positions where water flow are concentrated, erosion and corrosion occur, therefore, karst gorge is easy to be formed.
 
Karst spring
Karst spring is the natural outcrop of karst water, i.e., the phenomenon of underground water (produced at the intersection of aquifer or water-containing channels and the ground) gushing out of the earth’s surface, mainly distributed in the valley and the foot of the slope.
① According to the hydrodynamic properties of springs, it can be divided into ascending spring (fountain) and descending spring.
② According to the dynamic conditions, it can be divided into constant spring (all-year round spring), intermittent spring or seasonal spring (water flowing on the surface only within certain time), repeated spring (also called fluctuation spring) or sinkhole spring (seasonal flow, can be taken as well when no water flow and can eliminate water), the overflow spring (a kind of intermittent spring, a complementary discharge mouth to the constant spring), periodic (tide) springs.

Lapie and Clint
While flowing along the slope face of limestone, the surface flow corrodes and erodes to form many grooves which are called lapies.
The protruded part between lapies is called clint.
 
Dolines(sinkholes)
It is a small and enclosed depression in funnel-shape, well-shape or dish-shape; its flat shape is nearly in round or oval shape, so it is also called as round depression. Its diameter and depth range from few meters to several hundreds of meters, and there usually are sinkholes at the bottom of doline.Doline is not the only name so far as we know, for example, they are also called dolinae, corroded funnel and basin pit.
 
Corroded doline- is formed by the constant corrosion where rainwater collected in the low-lying areas on the surface leaks downward vertically along the joint fissure.
 
Collapsed dolines are mostly formed by the collapse of roof of karst caves which is resulted from infiltration and corrosion of water or violent earthquakes.
 (a) Corroded doline; (b) Subsided doline; (c) Collapsed doline; (d) Deep karst collapsed doline
 
Karst plateau
Means karstificated plateau. Its elevation is bascially more than 1000m.There are waved stone peaks or karst hills on the plateau, and inside the plateau, there are river running underground and aboveground alternatively, blind valley, doline, depression(uvala), and karst basin, and the underground water usually flows out from the escarpment at the edge of plateau.Represented by Guizhou Plateau, Western Hubei Plateau, Southern Section of Lüliang Mountain.

Karst pictographic mountain
Carbonatite at bare surface undergoes corrosion and erosion of surface running water plus biologic action for a long time, and vivid pictographic mountain is thus formed. Pictogrphicmountains are widely distributed in the geoark, typically QiguYingbin, Chuantoushan, DapengZhanchi, Guandaoyan, Solutional Cap Rock and Sunziyan, etc.

Karst hill
Hills formed by karstification are karst hills with weak karstification degree. Typical type of karst hill is combined with hill andsolution depression. It is of round top and mild slope, and the width of hillbottom is larger than its height with a relative height between 100m and 150m. It is mainly distributed at the region unfavorable for rapid karstification, such as carbonatite area with limestone, siliceous limestone and dolomite limestone stratum under condition of subtropical climate.
Karst hills in the geopark mainly distribute in the slope zone at both banks of Qijiehe River and Liuchonghe River, which mainly develop in carbonatite stratum of Triassic system (with dolomite limestone as the main lithologic character).

Cave
International Union of Speleology defines “cave” as a natural underground space where human beings can enter into, which can be partially or completely filled by sediment, water or ice. The cave combined by two or more lateral and vertical passages, which are complicated, branched or netty in structures can be called as cave system.)

Karst cave
Includes carbonatite cave, gypsum cave and salinastone cave. The carbonatite cave, formed by karstification and represented by limestone cave, is the widest distributed one with largest number and scale in China.
As most of all natural caves are karst caves, especially the caves opened for public tour, except for few individual ones, therefore, cave usually has the same meaning with karst cave in practical use.
Up to June, 2008, there have been 78 caves with measured length over 5km in China, among which, 25 ones have the length of over 10km; there have been 60 caves with depth over 250m, among which, 17 ones have the depth of over 400m; there have been 25 cavechambers with the area of more than 2×104m2. The vast majority (72/78) of these large caves are distributed in the southwest of China.
 Carbonatite cave

Karst cave
(1) According to hydrodynamic zone, it can be classified into vadose zone cave, shallow saturated zone cave, deep saturated zone cave (deep phreatic zone) and pressure bearing zone cave.
(2) According to hydrology features, it can be classified into fossil cave and underground river cave.
(3) According to geometric morphological characteristics, it can be classified into vertical cave, lateral cave and composite cave.
(4) According to the geomorphic features of cave development, it can be classified into karst peneplain cave and karst mountainy cave.
(5) According to the measured length of cave, it can be classified into small cave (<50m), middle cave (50 to500m), large cave (500 to 5000m) and super-large cave (>5000m).
 
Underground water cave
It refers to the cave that is developing now and is half or completely filled with water, also including the cave system formed by linking fossil cave and underground river. Having main characteristics of river, the underground river is a karst underground passage owing turbulent features and its own water catchment area. Theunderground river may not have obvious entrance and exit, and it may not be a passage allowing people to come in.
The ground water cave (system) is often featured by stratification. Normally the fossil cave is on the upper stratum, featured by fossil cave; whereas, on the lower stratum are ground water cave which is developing.

Underground water cave-- Swallow Cave
 
Fossil cave-- Zhijindong cave

Cave creatures
Cave creature includes those that can only multiply in a cave and may not survive outside a cave, and thus it is also called true cave creature, which include lower plant such as alga, microorganism, vertebrate such as blind fish, blind loach, invertebrate such as spider, diplopod, cricket and chilopod. Typical species of troglobites lack chromatophore and are weak-eyed. Compared with those of the related species living on the ground, their legs and antenna usually have more sensory nerve endings, and there are much sensory hairs on their bodies. Cave plants only exit near the mouth of a cave. As there is less light deep in the cave, the plant species also decrease dramatically, and the organs and the organism structure also changes correspondingly. Cave plants mainly consist of ceterach, moss, lichen and alga.
 
cave-delling cockroach
Shrimp
Thread-kegged bug
Troglobitic beetle
Blind cavefish
 

Geological Museum of Zhijindon Reservation Hotline Tel:+86-0857-7877699
Geological Museum of Zhijindong Cave

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