Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2015, Vol. 70 ›› Issue (3): 431-446.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201503007

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Origination, study progress and prospect of karst tiankeng research in China

Wei SHUI1(), Yiping CHEN1, Yawen WANG2, Zheng'an SU3, Su ZHANG3   

  1. 1. College of Environment and Resources, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou 350116, China
    2. College of Resources and Environment, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu 611130, China
    3. Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041, China
  • Received:2014-10-22 Revised:2014-12-12 Online:2015-03-20 Published:2015-03-20
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41401313;The Key Science and Technology Project of Yibin City, No.200903029


Karst tiankeng, which was discovered in peak cluster and hoodoo karst areas of southern China at the end of the 20th century, is a very special and grand negative karst landform. Karst tiankeng in China has been paid more attention by geomorphologists and geologists all over the world since it was discovered to have its unique values in aspects of scientific research, world natural heritage sites and global geological heritage and tourism. Until now, according to classification method of morphology, geomorphogeny and geomorphic evolution, it has been disputed for a long time whether karst tiankeng can be significantly distinguished from normal dolines. Additionally, the understanding of the classification, geomorphic evolution, developmental conditions, geological dating, and karst ecological environment of tiankeng are still extensively disputed by geomorphologists and geologists.Meanwhile, a growing recognition of the values and the development and protection methods has been received all over the world. This paper reviews the research stages and present progress, as well as the values and the development and protection methods of karst tiankeng in China. Finally, we point out some questions in the studies of karst tiankeng in China and research directions to be paid more attention in the further studies.

Key words: karst, tiankeng, origination, study progress, research prospect, China