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Halong Bay - Tropical Karst

Halong Bay - Tropical Karst
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Landscapes
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2004-09
Categories: Seascape
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2007-03-29 12:08
Viewed: 6790
Points: 24
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This will be my last posting for about two weeks - I shall be in Libya.

Halong Bay covers approximately 1,500 square kilometres in north Vietnam. The coast stretches 120 kilometres, in the Gulf of Tonkin close to the border with China. It is170 kilometres east of Hanoi. "Vịnh Hạ Long Halong Bay means "Bay of the Descending Dragon" in the Vietnamese.

The bay consists of a dense cluster of 1,969 limestone monolithic islands, each topped with thick jungle vegetation, which rise spectacularly from the ocean. Several of the islands contain enormous caves. Hang Đầu Gỗ (Wooden stakes Cave) is the largest grotto in the Halong area. French tourists visited in the late 19th century, and named the cave Grotte des Merveilles. Its three large chambers contain large numerous stalactites and stalagmites.

Some of the islands support floating villages of fishermen, who ply the shallow waters for 200 species of fish and 450 different kinds of molluscs. Many of the islands have acquired their names as a result of interpretation of their unusual shapes: such names include Voi Islet (elephant), Ga Choi Islet (fighting cock), and Mai Nha Islet (roof). 989 of the islands have been given names.

The bay was added to the World Heritage list by UNESCO at the 18th meeting of the Committee in December 1994.

Karst landforms are generally the result of mildly acidic water acting on soluble limestone. The carbonic acid that causes these features is formed as rain passes through the atmosphere picking up CO2, which dissolves in the water. Once the rain reaches the ground, it may pass through soil that may provide further CO2 to form a weak carbonic acid solution: H2O + CO2 → H2CO3. This mildly acidic water begins to dissolve the surface and any fractures or bedding planes in the limestone bedrock. Over time these fractures enlarge as the bedrock continues to dissolve. Openings in the rock increase in size, and an underground drainage system begins to develop, allowing more water to pass through and accelerating the formation of underground karst features.

This process is speeded up by warmer temperatures, so the most extreme forms are found in Tropical areas. Besides Halong Bay the other well known examples are; Phang Nga Bay (Thailand) and Guilin (China).

Adanac, ramthakur, Debz, horia has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2007-03-29 12:31]

Hello James,
This capture showing these strange geological formations is nicely detailed and have great color. Your note is excellent with lots of great information. Thanks for sharing and have a safe trip to Libya and hope to see some captures from your trip.

Hi James,
This scenic beauty is very well presented here!. The colors are natural and 2/3 1/3 rule is very well demostrated here.
Goutham R

I have always been fascinated with these monolithic formations in the sea in this part of the world, James. They look awe-inspiring, jutting out of water like some grim sentinels keeping a vigil over the surroundings.
This is a beautiful capture from a low angle. Going by the boats in view, this area in Vietnam must be a great tourist attraction.

Have a nice trip to Libya. I am sure you would come back with some great pictures to share with us here.
All the best.

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2007-03-29 13:29]

Hi James,
Wonderful landscape shot. Those gigantic rocks rise from the water so majestically. I like the strace of your boat on the water which lends a different perspective. The subdued colours and the haze looks so natural. Very nicely composed. Kudos.

Hi James,

Just think if the whole world was like that, it would be hard getting from one place to another. Really great shot of Halong Bay. Have fun in Libya, be safe. :)

  • Great 
  • Debz Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 505 W: 0 N: 847] (3307)
  • [2007-03-29 16:51]

Hi James, a wonderful composition of these amazing rock formations. Perfect POV with great reflections. You have caught the light well giving subtle soft colours. Beautiful composition. Enjoy Libya.

Well, my globe is spinning again trying to keep up with your travels. This looks like a particularly interesting place to visit and photograph. It's a nice shot. I hope you have or had a great time in Libya.

Evelynn : )

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2007-03-30 6:52]

Hi James

Another wonderful lacdscape from you, my friend!
The look of these two imense and solitary rocks here is amazing and the POV from where you shot this is exceptional.
The contrat between them and pretty much everything else is impeccable and the details on them are great.
The colors are ok, considerring the not-so-good light and weather.
I understand that you wanted to keep their reflections in the frame, too, but i'm still wonderding of how a vertical compo. would have looked. :)
Oh...almost fergot...having also a chemistry major, i really liked your note ;)

Bravo and TFS

Hello James,
This is so interesting! I have never seen something like that! It is nice to see that those landforms are classified in the World heritage list like the mountain here close to where I live :) Those places always have something very special and these islands certainly are! This is a technically good picture with excellent notes. Have a nice trip! Thanks,

Hi James,

Beautiful scene here, love the colours and the reflections of green cast onto the water. Your notes are excellent as well :) Thank you for sharing. Hope you have a safe trip, and I look forward to seeing some photographs from Libya. :)


Hi James,
Well done for this great POV.
I like the wake that guide our eyes towards this giant rock.
If you want, you can see my shots of the Ha Long bay :
> on TrekNature
> on TrekEarth

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-01-20 3:21]

Hi James,
this is so special. Well seen in half of it under the sea. Very exciting indeed. I could inmagine this. i have seen a lot in Langkawi island. Yet to venture.
such abeautiful karst with the reflection on. the ripples gives a good artistic effect and this style enhance the shot a lot- aethetically.
lovey view.


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