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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Karst and Kunming: Limestone "Forest" Tree-o in Denver, Colorado


        This tree-o of limestone "trees" at City of Kunming Park in the Rosedale area of Denver, Colorado, piqued my curiosity about their origin in the limestone "forests" in Yunnan, China:

     The three limestone pieces from the humid climes of China are eroding very quickly in arid Colorado:

     The Stone Forest (Shilin) forms part of the South China karst region that extends over a surface of 500,000 square kilometers in Yunnan, Guizhou, and Guangxi Provinces:

       Kunming represents one of the world’s most well-preserved examples of humid, tropical to subtropical karst landscapes. There are pinnacles, columns, mushroom- and tree- shaped features formed by limestone dissolution. The 270 million year old limestone "trees" have been likened to giant stalagmites even though they did not form in caves:

      Here is a good introduction to KARST TOPOGRAPHY.  

        According to Chinese legend, the stone forest is the birthplace of Ashima, a beautiful girl from the Yi people, an ethnic group from China, Viet Nam, and Thailand. After falling in love, she was forbidden to marry her chosen suitor and instead turned into a stone in the forest.


              If a stone tree falls in the stone forest. . .? (You must have seen that coming).

Rock on,
(Word Woman)

. . .And a few plum wonderful images of fruit from the 89 trees I helped plant on my friends' orchard in April, 2008. They were mostly just sticks with a few roots when we planted them. I recall the tamping down the earth around them quite vividly. . .

   The 89 live trees (not stone trees), although they do bear stone fruit!

     These are Flavor King pluots. We also planted Flavor Grenade pluots. . .Yes, they are that good and juicy.

      Just pulled the pin on one of these Flavor Grenades. Perfectly yin yangy.

The Aleph (see comment below from the morning of 9/14/14)


     Lego, I believe Noosie's feline spirit is up here on Grays Peak in Colorado with Paul, the cat (not to be confused with Paul, the human), and Maizie:

Maizie at Kunming Park ("still" photos):

And the video:

Happy Almost Autumn! Enjoy.  .  .


  1. Any Stone Forest visitors to China or Madagascar? Petrified bloggers? :-)

  2. Poor Ashima! (cursed --> karst ? --- probably not)

  3. Some karst topography terms from Wikipedia: (Is it any wonder I enjoy a profession that has KARST FENSTERS, FOIBES, and ABIMES?!

    Abîme, a vertical shaft in karst that may be very deep and usually opens into a network of subterranean passages

    Cenote, a deep sinkhole, characteristic of Mexico, resulting from collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath

    Foibe, an inverted funnel-shaped sinkhole



    Turlough (lake) (turlach), a type of disappearing lake characteristic of Ireland karst

    Uvala (landform), a collection of multiple smaller individual sinkholes that coalesce into a compound sinkhole

    Karren, bands of bare limestone forming a surface

    Limestone pavement, a landform consisting of a flat, incised surface of exposed limestone that resembles an artificial pavement

    Polje (karst polje, karst field), a large flat specifically karstic plain or field

    Karst fenster (karst window), a feature where a spring emerges with the water discharge abruptly disappearing into a sinkhole

  4. "If a stone tree falls in the stone forest . . .", do you hear it if you are stoned (CO and WA only)?

    1. I didn't really want to go there, David, but since you did. . .;-)

  5. It's been a fruitful, tree-filled week of stone trees, stone fruits, and whirling, twirling semiotics (see newly posted images).

  6. I've been occupied this week checking out the wonderful geology, flora and fauna of Grand Teton and Yellowstone parks. Will be passing through Denver, where it seems even the trees are stoned, on my way home later today.

    1. Rats! Maizie and I are at a Smith girls' weekend in the hills, else we would invite you and your wife to meet us at Kunming Park! Safe travels. Steph

    2. Only had a brief layover at the airport. My first time in a place with labeled Tornado Shelters (in the rest rooms).

    3. Glad you did not have to give the Tornado Shelters a whirl!

      When you come west again and if you have both time and inclination, please email me at my gmail address which is my blog name followed by the first letter of my first name. Take that!

    4. ^^^^blogger name (not blog name)

    5. Thanks. Didn't realize that Maizie was a Smith girl, too. What would you have called her if she was a boy? ;-)

      Yellowstone is certainly an awesome place, and I'm not a geologist. Must be orgasmic for someone like you. I could have done without the crowds at the popular features and the car traffic, but you don't have to hike far to get away from that. We had Imperial Geyser to ourselves (and a bison) one afternoon. (No one around to keep me from feeling the hot outflow stream for myself.)

    6. Yellowstone is a bit of sacred land for geologists. Glad it amazed you.

      Did you see any roads that had been affected by the rising heat from the caldera?

      We Smith girls had a Burning Woman fire at Sarah's. Maizie could be Maizter as a male pup.

  7. In reviewing photos from the playa in Nevada I saw this point of light in the lower right hand corner of the photograph I have enlarged above.

    That ball of light reminds me of a paper I write in high school about the Argentinian writer Jorge Luiz Borges' story, "The Aleph."

    From Wikipedia: The aleph is a point in space that contains all other points. Anyone who gazes into it can see everything in the universe from every angle simultaneously, without distortion, overlapping or confusion. The story continues the theme of infinity found in several of Borges' other works, such as The Book of Sand.

    Aleph or Alef, א, is the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet and the number 1 in Hebrew. Its esoteric meaning in Judaic Kabbalah, as denoted in the theological treatise Sefer-ha-Bahir, relates to the origin of the universe, the "primordial one that contains all numbers". The aleph (ﺍ, or ʼalif) is also the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, as well as the Phoenician, Aramaic and Syriac alphabets. Aleph is also the first letter of the Persian alphabet.

    This story is one of several which display Borges's fascination with Judaism. Other such stories include "Death and the Compass", "The Secret Miracle", and his poem "El Golem". In one version of the story of the Golem, from Jewish mythology, writing the letter aleph on the Golem's forehead is what brings it to life. Borges writes in the collection's afterword that the story owes something to H. G. Wells' The Crystal Egg.

    In mathematics, aleph numbers denote the cardinality (or size) of infinite sets. This relates to the theme of infinity present in Borges's story.

    There are also references to Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, including the poet Daneri's name ("Dan" from Dante and "eri from Alighieri, "Daneri") and in Beatriz' name.

    The aleph also recalls the monad as conceptualized by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, the 17th-century philosopher and mathematician. Just as Borges's aleph registers the traces of everything else in the universe, so Leibniz's monad is a mirror onto every other object of the world.

    1. And then there's Coleridge:

      In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
      A stately pleasure-dome decree :
      Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
      Through caverns measureless to man
      Down to a sunless sea.

    2. I remember reading The Library of Babel. I liked it, but I'm afraid i didn't understand it.

    3. Yeah, that lower-case 'i', right? Left to the reader as an exercise.

    4. The more i know the less i know, paul. . .

  8. Just checking in.

    jan, very fitting Coleridge poem, combining, as it does, al(e)ph and and (limestone) caverns.

    Thanks for the vocabulary lesson, Steph. Great words! Fenster is obviously etymologically related to one of my favorite words, “defenestration.” Also, I recall a TVsitcom that ran for one year, before JFK died.

    In the 1970s, my wasted decade, my mind was blown reading about aleph-null, etc., and the orders of infinity. Kind of a religious experience for me. I was also at the time reading all the Nabokov I could get my hands on, and a few Borges short stories that, like Paul, I enjoyed but didn’t entirely understand. I shall vow to revisit Borges. Nabokov and Borges: both creative geniuses in my book.


    1. Very glad you checked in, not out, Lego.

      Who's for ALEPHABET (instead of Alphabet)?

    2. I never knew about the Fenster character in the early 60's sitcom. Thank you for providing a window to that tv show.

      Added a photo and description of Paul, THE CAT, at Grays Peak, CO, above also.

    3. Don't know what the Dickens you're talking about, Lego.

  9. Oh, btw, I added some John McPhee language to last week's PEOTS, as well as a drone photo of the (not yet) Burning Man. I tried to explain the extensional forces that created the Basin and Range of Nevada to my son. Mr McPhee does it better. . . (When are you going to bicycle over to see him, jan?)

    1. It's kind of a long ride, with the First Watchung Ridge in the way, but since he's a biker, too, maybe we can meet halfway. Actually, my son is visiting at Princeton this semester; I'm thinking of working up the nerve to ask him to score an autograph at the Faculty Club, or something.

    2. Speaking of drone photos, I took a photo of a new sign at the Visitor Center at Old Faithful: It's got the silhouette of a quadcopter in a red circle-and-slash, with the text, "Launching, landing or operating unmanned or remote controlled aircraft in Yellowstone National Park is prohibited."

    3. Ooh, as long as he's signing one autograph. . .

      We'd like to see your photo, of course, jan.

    4. Someone's already posted a better image, without the glare in my photo. (Makes me wonder why I bother taking pix at all!)

    5. I would say "Don't drone on, jan" but that would be tacky!

      Did you sit in the river with the hot water coming in at the 45 degree latitude parking area...It's sort of hush hush and you have to walk maybe a half mile to get to the spot close to the northern edge of the park. Kids love it as you can swim and soak. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

      How about the petrified wood near Specimen Ridge?

      And Castle Geyser?

      Fairy Falls?


    6. No, no, yes, yes. Fairy Falls is about a half mile from Imperial Geyser, which was my favorite. The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone isn't too tacky, either.

    7. You gotta go back for the first two!

  10. I got a lump in my throat cause you're gonna sing the words wrong. . .


  11. Maizie enjoyed the limestone pillars at Kunming Park from many angles on this last weekend of summer. . .(see above, images and video).