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Yehliu Geopark(野柳地質公園)：The Dreamland for GeologistsWebsite: Ready Go
Stretching far out into the East China Sea, this limestone cape has long attracted people to its delightfully odd rock formations. Yehliu Geopark(野柳地質公園) is a geologist’s dreamland but also a fascinating place for the day tripper. Home to a number of unique geological formations including the iconic “Queen’s Head” (女王頭), it’s one of the premier destinations in northern Taiwan.
The total distance measured from the entrance of the Yehliu Geopark to the end of the cape is about 1.7 km; the widest area in between is shorter than 300 m. The distance measured from Yehliu Stop at Jijin Highway to the end of the cape is about 2.4km. The rock landscape of Yehliu Geopark is one of most famous wonders in the world. The costal line is stretching in a direction vertical to the layer and the structure line; besides, the influences caused by wave attack, rock weathering, earth movement and crustal movement all contribute to the formation of such a rare and stunning geological landscape.
Aeons of wind and sea erosion can be observed first-hand in hundreds of pitted and moulded rocks with quaint (but accurate) names such as Fairy’s Shoe (仙女鞋; Xiānnǚ Xié) and Queen’s Head (女王頭; Nǚwáng Tóu), which truly looks just like a silhouette of the famous Nefertiti bust. Yehliu Geopark can be divided into three areas. The first area contains mushroom rock and ginger rock. The famous candle shaped rock and the ice cream rock are presented in this area. The second area is similar to the first area. The most famous attraction, Queen’s Head is in this area. The third area is the wave-cut platform located on the other side of Yehliu. This area is much narrower than the second area. The third area also includes the major ecology reserve of Yehliu Geopark in addition to the said rock landscapes.
Yehliu Geopark is famous for its sea-erosion landscape, while most of the spots are very close to the sea. The visitor information centre has an informative English brochure explaining the general conditions that created the cape and also the specific forces that formed different kinds of rock shapes, such as the mushroom rocks, marine potholes and honeycomb rocks. Tourism shuttle buses stop directly outside the park entrance.
Yehliu Geopark gets very crowded on weekends and during holidays, with many tourists swarming around Queen’s Head waiting to take pictures. Try to visit early morning on a weekday.
Yehliu Geopark lightshow last year. (Yehliu Geopark photo)
Yehliu Geopark concert last year. (Yehliu Geopark photo)
Violinists at last year's event. (Yehliu Geopark photo)
The Bizarre Rock Formations of Yehliu Geopark in TaiwanBy Woe Media
Website: When on Earth
Witness a different kind of rock formation in a fishing town in Taiwan. Yehliu Geopark is the place where naturally-formed rocks show off their odd shapes that may help them pass as otherworldly creations. If you’re in Taipei, Taiwan, it’s a great time-killer to travel to the northern coast and observe this amazing natural wonder.
Yehliu Geopark is located in the town of Wanli, which sits between the cities of Taipei and Keelung in New Taipei, Taiwan. The natural creation, part of the Daliao Miocene Formation, stretches approximately 1,700 meters into the ocean, formed as geological forces pushed the Datun Mountain out of the sea. The weird-looking rocks are called hoodoo stones and are described as tall, thin spires of rocks protruding from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland. These hoodoos grow and may reach a height of 1.5 to 45 meters.
There are around 180 hoodoo stones in different stages of erosion. The rock formation that gets the most attention is named the “Queen’s Head”. The 4,000-year-old rock got its name from its resemblance to the profile of England’s Queen Elizabeth. Just make sure that you’re looking at the rock at a certain angle to see the Queen-like figure.
The Queen’s Head’s beauty is undeniable, but due to the erosion caused by rain, wind, waves, sun, and by past visitors, the neck of the rock formation is only 138 cm in circumference at its narrowest point. The Queen’s Head, same with the other rock formations, is in a delicate state of transformation. It goes without saying that touching any of these rocks is strictly prohibited.
How did these rocks turn into what they are right now? These rocks go through three stages. At first, seawater goes into the rocks with cracks causing an erosion. The erosion later creates rows of stone columns. On the second stage, erosion continues, but the tops of the stone columns made of calcium-rich sandstone resist the force. This results in the thinning of the softer rock below the column and leaving the top as is. The top is now left like a mushroom’s head and the reduced portion is its ‘neck’. Lastly, the crust continues to rise making the rock formations protrude above sea level with the usual external forces continuing its job to sculpt these rocks into weird – and weirder – shapes.
These mushroom rocks can be classified into three types depending on the shapes of their heads and necks. They can be high-relief “narrow-neck rocks”, intermediate “thick-neck rocks”, or low-relief “no-neck rocks”.
Besides the popular Queen’s Head, other formations have names that describe their shapes. Other formations found in Yehliu Geopark include the “Mushroom Rocks”, “Sea Candles”, “The Beehive”, and “Fairy Shoe”. It’s best to see these amazing formations as soon as possible before time and erosion have dramatically changed the rocks’ looks.
These mushroom-like mounds are some of the country’s greatest geological treasures
Taiwan’s Yehliu Geopark Is Like Disneyland for Rock Lovers
By Danny Lewis
August 10, 2016 | Updated: August 31, 2017
About an hour outside of Taipei on a tiny peninsula in Taiwan’s northern coast sits a landscape that looks like it could belong on another planet. Here, the coastline is dotted with remarkable geological formations that jut out of the stony shoreline in shapes resembling faces, ice cream cones and giant sandals.
The coastal region of the Yehliu peninsula is mainly made up of sedimentary rocks. Over time, the constant drumming of the ocean against the shore, erosion from the wind and exposure to the atmosphere, not to mention the remains of crustaceans like sand dollars and sea urchins, have chiseled the land away into a series of protrusions and potholes. Perhaps the park's most iconic objects are the mushroom-like pedestal rocks, or “hoodoo rocks,” that dot the landscape.
Hoodoo rocks are found all over the world, particularly in high, dry, rocky regions like the North American Badlands and the Colorado Plateau. These formations can stretch anywhere from four-to-five to hundreds of feet tall. They are often composed of soft sedimentary stone capped off with harder, less-eroded rock. But the rocks at Yehliu are a different from most. Not only are they some of the only hoodoos known to form in a seaside environment, but according to a 2001 study of the Yehliu formations published in the journal Western Pacific Earth Sciences, the hoodoos are composed of the same type of rock through and through.
“We found that the head, the neck and the surrounding ground are all composed of the same type of rock,” the researchers concluded. “The only difference is the outer appearance that is more reddish [in] color [on] the outer, altered rock, due to staining of iron oxides such as hematite and/or limonite on the rock.”
The scientists found that the color differences are likely due to the top of the formations being chemically altered as seawater repeatedly collected and evaporated over centuries. Meanwhile, the stems wear away from the waves and weather, eventually causing the caps to tumble over on their sides.
The alien-looking Yehliu landscape was first catapulted to fame after Taiwanese photographer Huang Tse-Hsiu published his series “Yehliu – Forsaken Paradise” in 1962. Following his photographs, the peninsula quickly became a favorite travel destination for Taiwanese and Chinese tourists, Giulia Pines reports for Atlas Obscura. Today, people from all over travel to the Yehliu Geopark to see these unique formations.
But while more tourists visiting Yehliu means more money that will go toward protecting the landscape, it also hastens its wear and tear. Despite warnings by park staff to keep off the rocks, the formations are tempting for people to touch and climb on—all of which speeds up their weathering. One popular formation known as “the Queen’s Head” has lost about five inches in the last eight years alone, leaving park authorities worried that a "beheading" could occur soon, as the BBC reported last year.
In order to protect the Queen’s Head and other popular formations, the park has built replicas and tested out special paint designed to slow down erosion. In some areas where the coastline is frequently wracked by storms, these replicas are the only remnants of famous formations.