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UNESCO-listed Limestone Site in China's Sichuan Damaged after Unruly Tourists Hop on it

The Huanglong valley is made up of snow-capped peaks and the eastern-most Chinese glaciers, was declared a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992. (Credit: Twitter)

The Huanglong valley is made up of snow-capped peaks and the eastern-most Chinese glaciers, was declared a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992. (Credit: Twitter)

The travertine formations at Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area in south-western China's Sichuan Province are incredibly fragile, and part of the beauty spot is likely to have been damaged beyond repair by the travellers' ignorance.

China's limestone attraction, which is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognised scenic spot, may have been permanently damaged after a group of irresponsible tourists hopped over the fence to walk on it.

According to the footage released by the Chinese state broadcaster, around a dozen visitors stood on the protected area formed by a unique type of limestone called travertine. The travertine formations at Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area in south-western China's Sichuan Province are incredibly fragile, and part of the beauty spot is likely to have been damaged beyond repair by the travellers' ignorance, reports DailyMail.

Ignoring the 'no entry' signs, the tourists barged into the site at in the afternoon last Wednesday, according to the management of the Huanglong Scenic and storic Interest Area. The Huanglong scenic spot was enlisted by UNESCO in 1992, and the travertine formations, covering five acres in the form of 693 bright pools, are the highlight of the area.

The UNESCO sight is renowned for its terraced blue-hued ponds, stacking upon one another 3,576 metres (11,732 feet) above sea level. They are formed by calcium carbonate deposits in hot springs. According to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, it has taken some 10,000 years for them to come into being.

DailyMail reports, deputy director of the Provincial Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources of Sichuan, Li Dehua told the media that the formation of the geological phenomenon could be as slow as less than one millimetre per year.

The travertine formations are extremely delicate and could be easily broken under the weight of a person and the damage would be nearly impossible to repair. The report further said that the tourists were spotted by a park ranger who was patrolling some 100 metres away from the group. The worker immediately asked them to leave the protected area and resume their tour following a designated route.


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