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. 

-JBB

Image credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hạ_Long_Bay#mediaviewer/File:Ha_Long_bay_The_Kissing_Rocks.jpg

Read more:
http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/672
http://www.halongbay.info/news/the-geological-formation-of-halong-bay.html

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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