Kissing rocks

These rocks are found within Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site based on its unique geology.

Ha Long Bay is a spectacular example of a karst landscape formed by the erosion of limestone. When exposed to rainwater limestone begins dissolving, and dissolution of limestone at one spot causes continued erosion to concentrate at that same spot. These processes start off by forming caves and can evolve into complex structures of pillars of limestone that stand high above lower surfaces where the water used to be.

Ha Long Bay consists of over 1600 of limestone islands and pillars, including these two nicknamed the kissing rocks or the kissing cocks. They are the remnants of hundreds of millions of years of geologic processes; thick sequences of limestones deposited over 300 million years ago, uplift of those surfaces above water, and over 20 million years of slow erosion of the rocks.

Today the ocean helps eat into the rocks. The ocean level has been mostly steady in this area for several thousand years and the interaction of the ocean with the rocks has created a growing notch at the base (often with the help of some organisms in these parts of the Pacific). If the ocean stayed at that level it would eventually eat away at the pillars, but a trend of rising sea levels over the next few hundred years may well move the ocean waters above that level, possibly even starting the formation of a new notch. 


Image credit:ạ_Long_Bay#mediaviewer/File:Ha_Long_bay_The_Kissing_Rocks.jpg

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Ha Long Bay | ©Boetz  (Quảng Ninh Province, Vietnam)

Ha Long Bay, in the Gulf of Tonkin, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, includes some 1,600 islands and islets, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and unaffected by a human presence. The site’s outstanding scenic beauty is complemented by its great biological interest [1].

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The UN International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies officially begins today with the opening ceremony in Paris, France. This international event is part of a collaborative effort between UNESCO and other scientific bodies wishing to promote the study of light science as a potential solution to the current global challenges in energy, education, agriculture and health. Oxford Medicine Online has celebrated this momentous event by exploring some of the innovative ways light is already being harnessed to solve medical challenges in this infographic. You can also view the infographic as a PDF to learn more about the medical applications of light.

To discover thought provoking content about radiation from Oxford Journals, explore the Journal of Radiation Research, Radiation Protection Dosimetry, and the Journal of the ICRU today.

Ephesus’ dream of entering UNESCO World Heritage List to come true this year

The ancient city of Ephesus in western Turkey is expected to enter the UNESCO World Heritage List this year, after 22 years of efforts.

Dating back to the 6th century B.C., Ephesus hosts around 2 million local and international tourists every year. Although it has been added to the UNESCO tentative list, along with 37 other sites in Turkey, it has failed to be included in the main list so far.

Selçuk Mayor Zeynel Bakıcı said his district was blessed thanks to its history, culture, nature, as well as many archaeological sites.

Bakıcı added that it was a “great deficiency” that the ancient city had not been on the UNESCO list up to now but said his team “believed the problem will be solved this year.” Read more.

Water is discharged over the traditional farm houses at Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Heritage site, on November 9, 2014 in Shirakawa, Japan. This annual drill is held to prevent fires. (Kaz Photography/Getty Images) Via

The village was built in the 11th century. Over the years, it’s been a place for Buddhist prayer, silk worm cultivation, and even gun powder manufacturing. Japan worked with international partners to set up this fire prevention system. They test the system to ensure its function. Very effective way of preserving historic sites from natural hazards.

Iraq tries to get Babylon on world heritage list

Baku-APA. Iraqi Minister of Tourism and Antiquities on Monday said that his country is seeking to restore the ancient ruin city of Babylon onto the UNESCO world heritage list, APA reports quoting Xinhua.

"We have finished our part and prepared a dossier to be sent to the UNESCO tomorrow, and so we met our obligation to prepare this dossier on February 1," Adel Shirshab told a press conference in Baghdad.

Earlier, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Iraqi government and the government of Babil province, in which the Iraqi side has to prepare a dossier by some Iraqi archaeologists and tourism experts to assess the damages and situation of the site. Read more.