Tianzhushan UNESCO Global Geopark
Tianzhushan UNESCO Global Geopark is located in Anqing City, Anhui Province, P.R. China. Its geographic coordinates are 30°35′17″ ~ 30°48′41″N in northern latitude and 116°16′04″ ~ 116°33′41E in eastern longitude. It is connected with Dabieshan in the northwest and bordering on the Yangtze River in the southeast, with a total area of 413.14km2. The main peak is 1489.8m high in elevation, like a gigantic pillar propping up the heaven, so it is called “Tianzhu” (which literally means “Heavenly Pillar” in English). Tianzhushan Geopark is located in the eastern part of Dabieshan Orogenic Belt between North China and Yangtze Paleo-Plates and the southern part of Tancheng-Lujiang Fault Zone. It is currently internationally recognized as an important area of UHP metamorphic belt, because of its largest scale, deepest denudation, best exposure and most abundant UHP minerals and rock combinations in the world, recording the amazing geological process of the subduction, collision and turn-back of continental plates, therefore, the Tianzhushan area is one of the most typical areas for the studies of continental dynamics; besides, Tianzhushan Geopark is world-famous for its most beautiful granite landforms in the Tancheng-Lujiang Fault Zone, in particular the cave landscape formed by landslides and collapsed stack of granite has been named as a landscape with the “Tianzhushan type” collapsed and stacked stones; in addition, more than 50 species of vertebrate fossils have been discovered in more than 20 sites within Tianzhushan Geopark, with Asian endemic characteristics, which makes Tianzhushan have a unique position in research of the evolution of Paleocene mammals, and be recognized as “one of the places of origin of Asian mammals and a treasure land of paleontological vertebrate fossils”.
Tianzhushan has a long history with profound culture. Famous Xuejiagang Culture relics in Neolithic Period witness the life, reproduction and the culture created by our ancestors 6000 years ago. In Spring and Autumn Period, Tianzhushan was subordinated to the State of Wan, so it is called Wanshan, and that’s why Anhui province is briefly called Wan. In 106 BC, Liu Che, Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty, ascended Tianzhushan and referred it as Sacred Southern Mountain (Emperor Wen of Sui Dynasty altered Hengshan as Southern Mountain afterwards). Since 1982, Tianzhushan has been successively ratified as National Scenic Spot, National Forest Park and National AAAAA Tourist Attraction. Tianzhushan became National Geopark in 2005, and joined in GGN in 2011.