Geoheritage Features in Xi’an, China: Cuihua Rock Avalanche Likely Originating from an Ancient Earthquake
The Cuihua rock avalanche, which has been very well preserved for thousands of years, is known as a geological museum in China. It includes a stone sea, residual cliffs, and a dammed lake that occupies a total area of 0.83 km2. Historically, it was viewed as a “royal garden” within this region of China.
Now, it is one of the most famous sightseeing spots in Xi’an. Recent field investigations, discrete element method (DEM), and lichen dating have revealed some interesting information about the rock avalanche features. Results show that the Cuihua rock avalanche coincided with an ancient earthquake of 780 bc that triggered the landslide. Structural planes (e.g., joints in the granite) and topographic amplification (e.g., hill or steep slope) were among the conditions that were favorable for the occurrence of the rock avalanche.
The features of the Cuihua rock avalanche (e.g., Shuiqiu Pool, Cuihua Peak, Wind Cave, Ice Cave) have great value as tourist attractions and are surrounded by other features (e.g., rock sword, stone statue of Taiyi God, stone camel, stone toad) that can be visualized by visitors with an aesthetic imagination. In addition, the geologic features are of high scientific significance for researchers interested in earthquake-induced landslides.
Keywords: geosites, rock avalanche, dammed lake, residual peaks, earthquake.