The Karsts of Cao Bằng

Lone karst with fields and village around it. A fully clothed and perfectly positioned karst with its attendant fields and village Cao Bằng Province, in the far north-east of Vietnam, is less visited than most areas, but has the most beautiful of landscapes, created by these fully clothed karsts. Karsts are the remnants, after 400 million years of weathering, of limestone rock. They are similar geologically to our much younger limestone pavements in Yorkshire. In the province of Hà Giang they appear as stark barren edifices, but here in Cao Bằng they come thickly covered in vegetation with patches of the white limestone showing through. Conical and columnar shapes are common, sometimes as isolates, others as serried ranks. Within Cao Bằng karsts do vary in form from the more barren in the north-west to the fully wooded in the south-east where they support exceptional levels of biodiversity. There is an archived page about karsts on this site here. Karsts with tobacco field in front. Approaching Cao Bằng from the south, where karsts can be seen fronted by fields of tobacco Karsts formations in Ha Giang. By contrast, at the northern tip of Vietnam, in Hà Giang Province, karsts take dramatic and barren form Semi wooded karsts and softer rounded elememnts to the landscape. Coming south and east into Cao Bằng Province the landscape softens, gentler shapes appearing Pointed karst and village with short vegetation. Two photographs showing the softer formations that are found in Cao Bằng... Karsts smuthered in the jungle. ...culminating in a richness where the karsts are almost submerged by the jungle Terraces with buffalo and karst hills beyond. Terraces, buffalo, bamboos, electric cables, and a background of karsts
- northern Vietnam encapsulated
Flowers fields and a skyline of karsts. Flat fertile valleys between hills lead to softer shapes... Horseshoe fields with grazing horses. ...like these horseshoe terraces (and grazing ponies) Newly planted fields with pointed karst behind. Karsts weathered on one side producing... Sun rising behind a pointed karst. ...shapes like these two pointers are common Columnar karst behind a village. Would living next to these giants seem protective or threatening? Road winding into the distance between karsts. The roads of Cao Bắng wind their way through valleys formed by the karsts Buffalo grazing against karst background. Buffalo grazing (near vulnerable newly planted fields) not far from Cao Bắng City Scrub covered Karst with village and fields at its base. The tighter coiffure of the far north of Cao Bắng Tried karsts and house. More verdant growth in the central area of the Province Larger trees in a rich valley. Large trees are a rarity in Vietnam, these richer valleys offer greater protection; at least from the weather Flat valley with river and village. In places the karsts are separated by wide 'straths' with slow flowing rivers Karsts trees and cloud hanging round the peaks. Morning mist hanging to the peaks of a karst landscape Fields with karsts around them. Within a small compass karsts offer wet and dry areas as well as shadow and full sun, this results in exceptional biodiversity Well covered karst with one side at about 80 degrees to the ground. They regularly make angles of over 80 degrees to the ground, but flora still cling on and flourish Small karst in a valley with fields. A baby karst nestles between larger ones. While most karsts are between 500 and 800 feet high, some reach twice that height rising to well over 350 metres Village at the foot of large karsts. Classical Chinese paintings often celebrate the lives of hermits living in huts, under knurled trees, high on the side of karsts. If these did occur in Vietnam there is no longer any sign of them Buffalo with calf and karst background. A buffalo (and her calf) with that oh so endearing look - please don't make me go to the effort of being protective Trailers... Waterfalls at Ban gioc. In two weeks time, to another of Cao Bằng's great attractions - the cascades of Bản Giốc. Pine at the entrance to the Ma pi Leng pass in northern Vietnam. The next page of the Mosaic Section is headed:
'Lone Pine'.
Or go to the contents of the Mosaic Section.
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Saturday 13th April 2019 Murphy on duty


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