Wangwushan-Daimeishan Geopark (34˚53΄47˝N to 35˚16΄56˝N, 111˚55΄56˝E to 112˚31΄40˝E) is located in Jiyuan and Xin’an, Henan Province, It is about 170 km from Zhengzhou, the capital of the Province, and 900 km from Beijing. The total area of the park is 986 km2, and the central part is about 273 km2. It consists of gardens such as the Tiantanshan, Fengmenkou and Yellow River Gorges, and 7 scenery sites such as Tiantanshan, Xiaogoubei, Fengmenkou, Fengshihe, Daimeixia Gorge, Longtanxia Gorge and Balixia Gorge. The park is geomorphologically subdivided into the Wangwu Mountain, Daimei Mountain and Yellow River Valley.
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A perfect geological profile section outcrops at Yangtaigong-Tiantanshan, which well recorded the important geological events since 2.5 billion years ago. A huge overturned anticline, formed by the Zhongtiao Movement at 1.85 billion years ago, develops in the lower part of the section. The core of the anticline is composed of the TTG rock suite and the supergene rocks of the Neoproterozoic Linshan Group, whilst the limbs are the schist, marble and quartzite of Paleoproterozoic Yingou Group. The anticline is covered by the Xiaogoubei Formation. So peculiar a geological and structural association perfectly recorded the orogenic events related to the integration (1.8 billion years ago) and the breakup of the North China craton, providing the important information of the formation and the evolution of the North China blocks and the relation to the surrounding blocks.
The Mesoproterozoic Xiyanghe Group at the Xiaogoubei scenery site was formed by the magmatism which is believed to be the largest and most extensive one since the formation of the crystal basement of the North China craton. It distributed like a herringbone along the three-arm rift at Zhongtiao-Wangwu mountains. The group is characterized by volcano-sedimentary rocks shifting between marine and terrestrial facies, spanning a period of 2 billion years.
The Wangmushan Movement is named at Mt. Wangwushan and the movement happened at 1450 Ma ago. This movement is clearly evidenced by the Xiaogoubei conglomerate overlying on the volcanic rocks of the Xiyanghe Group. These un-metamorphic conglomerates, formed in the rift filling time, are highly exposed at the tops of Tiantang and Aobei Mountains, leaving a view like a castle or an altar.
The Jiyuan Basin, formed during the Mesozoic, is one part of Erdos lake basin (covering the current provinces of Shanxi, Gansu and Ninxia) lake basin. A complete sedimentary sequence from alluvial-esturial delta-shallow and deep lacustrine facies was formed in the basin, spanning a period from Late Triassic to Early Jurassic. A lot of plant, animal and trace fossils were preserved in these deposits. The sequence has been extensively studied by scientists from China and abroad, and the turbidites and trace fossils are particularly well-known over the world. The Jiyuan Basin was located in the southern part of the big lake, and the fossil assemblage shows a transitional nature between the South China and the North China biotas. Besides lots of elements of the Yanchang Flora, it contains the Late Triassic fossils of the South China Flora, suggesting this basin might act as a land bridge for organisms.
The section of the Huanghe River between the Wangwushan and the Daiheshan mountains is believed to be the most beautiful place along the whole River. The formation and the evolution of the Huanghe River are closely related to the geological and tectonic evolution of the Wangwu Mountain. During 5Ma to 2.6Ma, the Wangwu Mountain was a plane surface with little height difference. The differentiation occurred with the revival of the Fengmenkou Fault and Huanghe Fault during the New Tectonic Movement. The area north to the Fengmenkou Fault was lift to form the Wangwu Mountain, and the Daimei Mountain was formed in the south of the Huanghe Fault, whilst the area between the two faults dropped down and formed the valley of the Huanghe River. Headwater erosion led to the formation of the Bali Gorge in the valley. It is geologically proposed that the run-through of isolated paleolakes in the middle reach caused to the formation of the Huanghe River. The cut-through of the Bali Gorge and Sanmen Gorge caused the Sanmen paleolake in the lowest reach to flux eastward into the sea. On this point, the cut-through of the Bali Gorge is an important event in the final formation of the Huanghe River. After the run-through of the Huanghe River, a series of zigzag canyons downward to the River, associated with the intermediate square plates, were formed on both sides of the River.
The Daimei and Longtan Gorges are the typical red-rock valleys, located in the redish quartzose of Mesoproterozoic Ruyang Group. The Daimei Gorge is about 40Km long, several meters to ten meters wide, and several hundreds meters deep. It winds its way up, showing a magnificent scene. The Longtan Gorge zigzagged up to 5Km. The valley is cut by deep valleys and the string-distributed deep valleys, associated with the erosion imprints of different ages, forming an unusual landscape gallery in the Central Plains. Two groups of vertical joints cut the rocks into small blocks of varied sizes, mobilizing the rocks to form a series of landslip views.
The Wangwu Mountain is closely associated with the Huanghe River, not only because they are geographical neighbours, but also because Chinese showed great worship to rivers and mountains. Early in the Tang dynasty, the Wangwu Mountain was taken as a Holy Land by Taoism, and it was one of the nine famous mountains in China. The master of the Daoism, Sima Chengzhen, created a criteria, the so-called Dongtianfudi hypothesis, to evaluate natural mountains and waters after he conducted a thorough research on the landscapes, cave waters and rainfalls at the Wangwu Mountain. He divided the mountains and rivers over the world into 10 Dongtians (heavens), 36 small Dongtian and 72 spots, and the Wangmu Mountain ranks the first in the 10 Dongtian’s.
The Wangwu Mountain is famous for the fable of the Foolish Old Man who removed the mountains. Although the mountain could not be moved away by an old fool man, the perseverance to overcome difficulties in the fable encouraged the people who live here. They made a wonder after a wonder, including the water channels built both in the Qin dynasty and in 1960s. Particularly, the Xiaolangdi Dam, constructed by the end of the 20th century, is not only an achievement to create lakes in the high mountains, but also a fulfilling to make the muddy water in the Huanghe River clean and calm.
The long geological history of Wangwu mountain created not only a beautiful natural landscape but more than 20 kinds of mineral resources such as coal, iron, aluminum and so on. The Huanghe odd stones at the Daimei Mountain are widely owned by the collectors as a treasure.
The rich earth fostered luxuriant ecological resources. The virgin forest and secondary virgin forest spread to 30 Km2. 1200 species of plants get the honor of the gene bank of seed plants at South Taihang Mountains, with lots of them surviving from Paleogene and Neogene. A lot of large Gingko trees are dated to be over 2000 years. Many legends are storied from these trees, with flowers blooming in spring and autumn. Bird-views on the top of the Wangwu Mountain would leave an impression of the forest ocean and flower world. In the deep forest of the Wangwu Mountain, there lived over 3000 Taihang macaques, which are divided into 18 groups and believed to live on the most north in the world. As a result, the Wangwu Mountain becomes a national reservation for the Taihang macaques. Their fondness of play and ridiculous poses bring infinite sentiment to the visitors.
A new tourist belt will be formed, surrounding ancient capital Luoyang, Xiaolangdi reservoir and Jiyuan, if the International Geological Park of Wangwushan-Daimeishan is established. This will further stimulate the local economic development, which in turn promotes the reservation of geological treasures and the maintenance of ecological environments. We believe that people at Wangwushan-Daimeishan not only created the brilliant history, but also will bring a bright future.