EuroSpeleo 2016 Sessions

Evolution and Characteristics of Jinfoshan Cave Systems in Chongqing, China

Session code: OS17

Oral / Science, Main EuroSpeleo Conference

Mr Jing Zhang


Jinfoshan is a karst table mountain that has been separated from the surrounding Yunnan-Guizhou-Chonqing plateau by deep fluvial dissection. A series of ancient and enormous cave systems with active streams are located at the top of Jinfo Mountain at 1,800-2,100m a.s.l., perhaps the highest elevation of any known extensive horizontal trunk cave passage on Earth. The cave systems total over 25km in length, with passages 20-120m wide and 10-18m high. They include Gufo Cave and Xiannv Cave along the northern slope, and Lingguan Cave, Yanzi Cave, and Jinfo Cave along the western slope. Large-scale trunk passages formed during the early stage are mixed with maze passages formed during the middle stage and vadose shafts formed during the most recent stage to create a highly complex system. The top layer of clastic sediments in Jinfo Cave has been dated to 5.7Ma, implying Neogene (5-20Ma) deposition for cemented sediments found in upper levels of the system. This is the oldest measured age for a cave in Asia. Together with the historical remains of large-scale nitrate extraction found in the cave system, this vividly demonstrates the whole process of the development, degradation and disappearance of the subterranean streams in Jinfoshan.


Mr. Zhang Jing works in the Karst Landscape and Cave Research department of China’s Institute of Karst Geology. Mr. Zhang majored in geomorphology and quaternary geology, and his current areas of interest include mechanisms of cave and karst landform development, cave sediment dating and geosite investigation.


Huang Baojian , Zhang Yuanhai, Zhai Xiumin
Institute of Karst Geology, CAGS