TAIPEI (The China Post) — Welcome to the basaltic “Animal Farm” of Penghu! Penghu Archipelago is composed of 90 islands and islets with most of them being formed by basaltic rocks – but “Flower Islet” being the exception as it consists mostly of andesite.
Successive volcano eruptions have shaped Penghu’s diverse landscapes. For years, tourists with wide imagination have come to visit and traced out a sightseeing route, capturing the beauty of animal-shaped basalts.
Penghu National Scenic Area is known for its unique basalt-forming environment. Daguoye Columnar Basalt on Yuweng Island is one of the most precious natural assets of the area.
The Whale Cave on Xiaomen Islet is a sea arch, which is often regarded as an ephemeral form with constant chances of collapsing. Once the keystone of a sea arch collapses, a sea stack is formed, which is considered a geological phenomenon. Tourists can find a lion-shaped sea stack at the east of the Whale Cave. Chixi Columnar Basalt and Sanshibi secret trail are also popular tourist sites.
Penghu Columnar Basalt Geology Park is currently under the plans of being renovated into a nature park, and later, they consider applying as a nominee for World Natural Heritage. The scope is estimated to cover the current Hujing Islet Recreation Area and Tongpan Geology Park, in which tourists can appreciate the wonder of columnar basalts, sea-cut platforms, sea caves, and bizarrely shaped rocks.
The “Lotus Pond” at Tongpan Islet, “Blue Cave” at Xiji Islet, “Stone Lion” at Chimei Islet are all favorite locations for tourists. Yuanbei Islet, located at the Northeast of the Magong Island is known for stones that are shaped like the “four treasures of the study”: brush, ink, paper and ink stone. Sea cliffs, on the other hand, can be found at “Bird Islet,” Chishan Islet, Dinggou Islet and Xiaobeisha Islet, which makes the pleated-skirt-like cliffs worth seeing.
According to Penghu National Scenic Area Administration, the basalt formation of Penghu Archipelago is the result of the countless unpredictable volcano activities. In which, the lava rose up from beneath the neritic zones or from the fissures underground and accumulated after cooling down upon reaching the surface.
The Penghu basalt coulee tends to form perpendicular columns once cooled. After years of weathering and erosion, these basalt columns form a spectacular geological view with columnar joints placed side by side. Some columns are erecting into the sky, while others are crooked or bent, presenting various unique forms.
The Penghu basalt is undoubtedly considered a world-class view. However, the government agencies pointed out that tourists sometimes behave inappropriately while visiting. Such inappropriate behaviors include climbing, damaging the rocks, and some even showing off on their Facebook account afterwards.
These behaviors are causing the administrative agencies a great headache; hence, the government is now calling for the tourists to protect the environment and abide by the law.