Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park
The Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park is a national park located in Melaky Region, northwest Madagascar. The national park centers on two geological formations: the Great Tsingy and the Little Tsingy. Together with the adjacent Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve, the National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Tsingys are karstic plateaus in which groundwater has undercut the elevated uplands, and has gouged caverns and fissures into the limestone. Because of local conditions, the erosion is patterned vertically as well as horizontally. In several regions on western Madagascar, centering on the park and adjacent Nature Reserve, the superposition of vertical and horizontal erosion patterns has created dramatic "forests" of limestone needles.
The limestone rocks known as the tsingy were formed by a deposit of fossils and seashells under the sea 200 million years ago when thick layers of calcite at the bottom of the lagoon formed a thick limestone bed. They have been shaped by rain water for the past 5 million years.
In the 18th century, the Tsingy were the home of the Vazimba, the first inhabitants of Madagascar, who lived in caves surrounding limestone formations. Today, they are a place of worship and ceremony - tromba and tomb, for the local population.
In 1990, the Tsingy were designated as a World Heritage site. In 1997, they were established as a national park.
The unusual geomorphology of the Tsingy de Bemaraha World Heritage Site, which encompasses both the National Park and the adjacent Strict Nature Reserve, means that the Site is home to an exceptionally large number of endemic species of plants and animals that are found only within extremely small niches within the tsingys. For example, the summit, slope, and base of a tsingy's limestone needle form different ecosystems with different species clinging to their exceptionally steep slopes.
- "Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Nature Reserve". UNESCO. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
- Shea, Neil (November 2009). "Living On a Razor's Edge: Madagascar's labyrinth of stone". National Geographic. Retrieved 2009-11-01.
- Griffiths, O.L. & Herbert, D.G. 2013. New species of land snails (Mollusca: Gastropoda) from two isolated karst formations in central western Madagascar: Tsingy Beanka and Antsingimavo, with additional notes on other regional endemics. African Invertebrates 54 (1): 1-48.[permanent dead link]
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