Celebrating Earth Heritage
Zhangye Geopark is adjacent to the Alxa block to the north and to the south to the Middle Qilian block, belonging to the transitional zone of the Qilian Caledonian fold belt and the Alxa block. The unique geographical location and complex geological process have created rich and typical geoheritage in the Geopark, making Zhangye Geopark a collection of Nine-Spring ophiolite suite, Colorful hills, typical Danxia landforms in arid areas, middle and small structures, water erosion geomorphology etc. Among the geoheritage, the Nine-Springs ophiolite suite has always been a hot spot for Chinese and foreign geologists to investigate and study. It is the Early Paleozoic collision zone between North China plate and the Qaidam plate. Because the ophiolite suite is of international geological significance, it became one of the field trip of the 30th International Geological Conference in 1996 and an important station of the "Australian-China Tectonics and Earth Resources Joint Center" field investigation route in 2018. Zhangye Colorful hills are characterized by monocline and monocline peaks due to tectonic movements, which are full of rhythm and layering and are of international geological significance. Binggou Danxia has developed windows-lattice and palace-style Danxia landforms in the arid area of northern China, often developing mud-emulsion, laminated and other micro-landforms. Heihe River is the second largest inland river in the northwest of China. The upper and middle reaches have formed the geological landscape such as the Heihe gorge with the decline of topography and the strong erosion of the river, which is the natural classroom of geoscience research and has the value of science popularization and education.
Sustaining local Communities
Zhangye Geopark is located in Zhangye City, Gansu Province, the People's Republic of China(PRC). Its geographical coordinates are 99°16′12″-100°07′37″ E, 38°40′52″-39°03′36″ N, with a total area of 1289.71 square kilometers. It is about 1800 km from Beijing, and 540 km from Lanzhou. The Geopark is located at the first stage of geomorphologic abrupt change of Qinghai- Tibet plateau to Inner Mongolia plateau, the middle section of the northern slope of the Qilian Mountains, and the center of the Hexi Corridor, which belongs to the arid region of the continental cold temperate zone. The climatic characteristics are that the annual temperature difference is large, and the seasonal variation is remarkable. Precipitation is rare and unevenly distributed. It’s dry and windy. The geopark has a population of 37,600, of which 56.5%, i.e. 20,600 people, belong to 15 ethnic minorities, including Yugurs, Tibetans, Mongols, Huis, Manchus, Dongxiangs and Bonans. It is a county of mixed minorities and the only Yugur autonomous county in China. The mainly part of the geopark is situated in Sunan County, the only autonomous county for the Yugur minority ethnic group in China. China Yugur Nationality Corridor inside Zhangye geopark is a must-see attraction that brings together natural scenery, cultural history and minority folk customs.
- Zhu Pengxian, Director of Administration for Zhangye Geopark, email@example.com