Your eyes are not deceiving you. This layer cake of amazing colours is a real landscape located at Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park in Gansu Province, a remote region in northern central China. (‘Danxia’ is the name for a type of rockform, ‘Zhangye’ being this particular location.)
Even for the undeniably powerful Mother Nature, creating something this arty wasn’t easy. It in fact took 24 million years of painstakingly laying down mineral deposits to form these rocks, like pouring different colours of sand into a jar. Over time these weighty layers were compressed into rock, and then a slight and unthinkably slow ripple from the collision of the Indo-Australian and Eurasian tectonic plates rumpled the landscape into those magnificent undulations to complete the effect (meanwhile also giving rise to the Himalayas). Thus the amazingness of Zhangye Danxia was formed.
he rockforms of Zhangye Danxia range in colour from deep red to yellow and green, the highly contrasting bands of colour glowing most intensely after rainfall. As the setting sun casts golden rays and a lacework of shadows across the landscape, the visual effect becomes even more stunning.