The Stone Forest in the Lunan Yi Autonomous County 100km from Kunming, is composed of the
Greater Stone Forest, the Lesser Stone Forest, the Outer Stone Forest and the Stone Forest Lake. Looking in the distance like a vast expanse of forests, it is actually a world of stone peaks, stalagmites, subterranean rivers and underground limestone caves. For this top graphical turmoil, the place is dubbed Number One Wonder in the World. The Stone Forest is home to the Sani people, a branch of the industrious and brave Yi minority. As born singers and dancers, the Sani people are also skilled in embroidery. On the 24th of the sixth lunar month, the Stone Forest attracts large crowds of visitors at home and abroad who come to join the Sani people in celebrating the Torch Festival.
Major Stone Forest,
Minor Stone Forest and Naigu Stone Forest, all of which feature stones in various formations ; with animals, plants, and even human figures can be found here. Some are elegant, some are rugged, and each is lifelike with its own distinguishing characteristics. Subterranean Stone Forest in Zhiyun Cave, an underground stone forest distributed among several caves, occupying a total area of about three sq. km (720 acres).
Strange Wind Cave, composed of Penfeng Cave, Hongxi Spring and an underground river. From August to November, gales lasting two to three minutes sweep out of the cave in every 30 minutes.
Long Lake is a karst lake of three kilometers long but only 300 meters wide. The lake features underwater stalagmites and stalactites and a small island in the center of the water. The source of the Dadie Waterfall and Ba River is a branch of Nanpan River. In the rainy season, up to 150 cubic meters of water per square inch plummet down the 88m (288ft) drop.
Geologists say the Stone Forest is a typical example of karst topography. Approximately 270 million years ago - during the carboniferous period of the Paleozoic era - the region was a vast expanse of sea. Over time, the movements of the lithosphere gradually caused a retreat of the waters and the rise of the limestone landscape. Due to constant erosion by the elements, the area finally developed into the present-day Stone Forest.