This is a photo I snapped while visiting Kunming, in the Yunnan Province of China and touring the Stone Forest National Park. This park encompasses a karst topography in southern China, near the border with Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar.
This sort of landscape forms when groundwater (or rainwater that is absorbed into the ground) mixes with carbon dioxide and forms carbonic acid. The acid dissolves calcium carbonate-based limestone or other types of soluble rock (this was limestone). Over time, in this case a million years or more, the acid can dissolve the limestone away, leaving only the most resistant rock formations. Due to the downward migration of rainfall and groundwater in this region, and the presence of more limestone beneath the Stone Forest, the forest will continue to “grow” as the terra firma surrounding it erodes away. The entire park forms a depression in the landscape actually, due to the material that has already been removed by dissolution. I’m not positive, but the rock that is remaining may have had a lower permeability or porosity than the rock that was dissolved away, leading it to be more resistive. For a more detailed explanation, visit this Univ. of Houston web site.
As aesthetic as the landscape was, the festive costumes of the tour guides also caught my eye:
The first picture in this post was taken from the vantage point of this overlook, a little pavillion designed in a traditional Chinese style. In this shot, I loved how the color of the leaves popped against the cool gray of the rock, and how the red of the pavilion tied the scene together.