sign in a cave in Laos

25 September 2020

Formation of stone forests and pinnacles

 An article appeared in arsTechnica in Sept 2020 "Mathematicians may have unlocked the secret of how “stone forests” form".

The article mentions stone forests such as those in China's Yunnan province and the tsingy in Madagascar. There is no mention of Mulu's pinnacles. The article says "These pointed rock formations, like the famed Stone Forest in China's Yunnan Province, are the result of solids dissolving into liquids in the presence of gravity, which produces natural convective flows". And "Soluble rocks like limestone, dolomite, and gypsum are submerged under water, where the minerals slowly dissolve into the surrounding water. The heavier water then sinks under the downward pull of gravity, and the flows gradually form karst topographies. When the water recedes, the pillars and stone forests emerge."

This is a controversial subject. The mathematicians based their findings on dissolving candy in a water tank. However in the case of limestone formations, these are generally thought to be subaerial erosion features. There are a few discussions about this in the comments. Also reference to an article in an international caving journal , "Origination of stone forests in China", which I think is  more credible!

21 September 2020

Guar Kepah skeleton, Kedah, Malaysia

Not cave related, but still interesting. 

A human skeleton was found at the construction site of the Guar Kepah archaeological gallery in Kedah, on 17 April 2017. Guar has nothing to do with a cave, and the word doesn't translate into English. 

The skeleton was sent to Florida where it was dated at 5,710 years old, which makes it Neolithic. Scientists also found the person had eaten a shellfish diet. Photo taken from Borneo Post -

In addition to the skeleton, a 5.49 m high shell midden was found at the base of the site. This contained artefacts such as pottery, stone tools and food remnants. The finding of this midden revealed the human burial process in the Neolithic age. It is the only evidence of a burial under a shell midden in Malaysia.

The only other skeleton found of a similar age was Perak Woman found in Lenggong in Perak, but this one was buried in a cave. It was dated at 8000 years old. 

Guar Kepah historic site is older than the Bujang Valley and Sungai Batu in Kedah, and is the only location in Peninsular Malaysia which shows evidence of ancient human settlements close to the sea.

See more on the Guar Kepah skeleton in NST and the shell midden in Malay Mail 2013 .