The Rainbow Mountains Of China Are Earth’s Paint Palette – The Rainbow Mountain of China within the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park are a geological think up “the world”. These pre-eminent Chinese crests are known for their otherworldly colours that resemble a rainbow drawn over the tops of dropping crests.
This is just one example where geology catches our generosity and begs the issues to: What causes the Rainbow Mountains to be colored the method they are? Now I will discuss the diagenetic and mineralogical processes that make up the emblazons, lettuces, yellowishes, and off-colors.
The Zhangye Danxia National Park is located in the Gansu province in China’s northwest adopting 200 square miles. The website was worded a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009 and is the destination for endless Chinese and international sightseers .
How Did The Rainbow Mountains Form?
The Rainbow Mountains are cretaceous sandstones and siltstones “thats been” lodged in China before the Himalayan Ridge were sat. The sea and sediment was lodged with iron and trace minerals that provided it with the key ingredient to form the hues we see today.
What was once layered horizontal and flat stratigraphy was disrupted by the Indian Plate conflicting into the Eurasian Plate virtually 55 million years ago. Much like when two gondolas go into a wreck and the bumpers fold and detached, a same process folded what was once flat sandstones into the Rainbow Mountains we see today. This process uplifted ridges and disclosed sedimentary rock “thats been” otherwise concealed well below the face of the earth. Weathering and deterioration removed the overlying bed of continental siliciclastic rocks and uncovered underlying organisations with various mineralogy and chemistry. This causes the shaking change in hues realized in all parts of the Rainbow Mountains.
So now that you have an idea to encountering how the Rainbow Mountains formed, we will discuss a little bit about how they got the color we see today. Triggered groundwater gone through the sandstone particles and bases trace minerals in between the molecules. This provoke can build up to a object where there is no longer an puncture opening between the individual molecules, cementing them in place. This process is what impart the trace minerals mentioned below and allows for the otherworldly coloring of sandstones of all the countries.
The primary color is a deep red sandstone , not unlike the Fountain Formation that outcrop in the Flatirons, Red Rocks Park, and the Garden of the Gods all in Colorado. The crimson colour can be attributed to an iron oxide coating and cementation, also known as hematite (Fe2O3), between the sandstone cereals. This is the exact same process that currently exists when a piece of metal is left out in the downpour and words a crimson stratum of rust-brown around the outside.
Weathering, mixed with water and oxygen oxidizes elemental cast-iron into cast-iron oxide, which is notable for its dark red colour. The Rainbow Mountains are primarily characterized by this iron oxide discolouring of its sandstone Danxia formation.
Most of the time cast-iron oxides channel a dark red pigment, however, there are instances where oxides form different complexions. For precedent oxidized limonite or goethite will develop dark-brown or yellow stain of sandstones, magnetite can structure pitch-black stain of sandstones. If there is iron sulfide present, you will get a metallic yellow pigment channelled by the sulfur. Meanwhile, green coloring is often due to chlorite or cast iron silicate clays. These are just some examples of how sandstones can be altered in coloring during diagenesis.
Luckily for you, you dont have to travel to northwest China to see this accurate same process. Croak outside and move around, showing down and out on the landscape. Try to distinguish a boulder with a blood-red tint all over and there’s a good chance you’ve ascertained a cast-iron oxide discoloured sandstone. Cause us know what you’ve may be in specific comments below.
Lastly, I’ll leave you with a few more spectacular photographs of the Zhangye Danxia Rainbow Mountains.
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