Seen it all? Perhaps. Have you seen the Rainbow Mountains of China?

Just as I was thinking, "Okay Life, show me something interesting," I discovered this place. While there is clearly color enhancement going on in many photos, the underlying colors are there, making these mountains amazing … and fair game for photo apps that increase saturation of colors. Are they real??


I think so. I've added a map below and some information from Forbes, which in my experience is generally better than other web sites at not falling for scams. They had this to say:

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 8.38.23 PMThe Rainbow Mountains of China within the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park are a geological wonder of the world. These famous Chinese mountains are known for their otherworldly colors that mimic a rainbow painted over the tops of rolling mountains. …

The red coloring is due to an iron oxide coating and cementation, also known as hematite (Fe2O3), between the sandstone grains….

oxidized limonite or goethite will produce brown or yellow staining of sandstones, magnetite can form black staining of sandstones. If there is iron sulfide present, you will get a metallic yellow color imparted by the sulfur. Meanwhile, green coloring is often due to chlorite or iron silicate clays. These are just some examples of how sandstones can be altered in coloring during diagenesis.


Here are a few more to enjoy. Can you spot the camel? How about the zebra?

Screen Shot 2017-08-09 at 8.59.14 PM

The zebra is well hidden, so don't worry if you don't see it.

Ridiculous amounts of saturation boost on some of these, but still fun. The Huffpost has larger images of these if you'd like to see more.

Zhangye Danxia reminds me that if you look, there is something new and amazing every day on this terrible and wonderful ride called life.

5 thoughts on “Seen it all? Perhaps. Have you seen the Rainbow Mountains of China?

  1. I’ve seen photos of trees with rainbow bark – they look just as amazing. I’ve been to a beach in Qld called Rainbow Beach which has coloured sands. The sandstone is striped with various minerals which create the colours. It is just beautiful

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s