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Penghu Columnar Basalt Nature Reserve

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Information

Date of Proclamation March 12, 1992
Size of Area (ha) 19.13 hectares at high tide and 30.87 hectares at low tide
Primary Object for Protection Unique topographical landscape of basalt formation
Scope of Administration Ding-Go [Spindle Hook] Island – Ji-Shan Island – Hsiao-Bai-Sha [Little White Sand] Island – Penghu County
Authority in-charge-of Penghu County Government

Origin

Taiwan & Mainland China, stands in the middle of the Taiwan Strait, across by the Tropic of Cancer . It consists of 64 islands, with basalt from cooled lava forming major rocks of each island. There are numerous small no-man islands and barrier reefs; at the furthermost northern end is Moo-Doe Island, the furthermost southern Chee-Mei [Severn Beauty] Island, the furthermost Cha-Mo [Woman] Island, and the furthermost western the Wei-Hua Island. Geographic formation & view is different from island to island. The most noticeable is of the vertical basalt pillars found on Ding-Go [Spindle Hook] Island, J i-Shan Island, and Hsiao-Bai-Sha [Little White Sand] Island. There are bountiful marine resources nearby, and a rather large population of seagulls like to breed and rest here, offering unique natural scenery. The Council of Agriculture of the Executive Yuan declared this area as the “Penghu Columnar Basalt Nature Reserve” in 1992.

Location

The zone is located in Penghu County, including three no-man islands as Ding-Gou [Spindle Hook] Island, Ji-Shan Island, and Hsiao-Bai-Sha [Little White Sand] Island. And the location of the reserve is found at the north-east of Penghu island and the south-east of the aforementioned islands.

An Introduction

  • Temperature: annual average around 22.3℃.
  • Rainfall: Penghu archipelago is surrounded by ocean everywhere, it is meteorologically categorized as sub-tropical marine climate, and it is humid in the summer and dry in the winter. Being a flat terrain, it is difficult for it to retain water , ending up with little thus rainfall and its annual average of rainfall is only 1,000 mm. In addition, since it is located within monsoon parameter, strong winds is the other feature of Penghu.
  • Altitude above sea level: 0-30 m.
  • Geology: With the exception of the oldest Hwa Yu formed by cellophane rocks, most others are formed by basalt lava and sedimentation, over-laid with rock stratum. The island surface is smooth, with few streams and rivers , not to mention high mountain. However, its coastline is very intricate, with numerous variations of island and reefs. Steeper slope are found at the southern side, much more than so at the northern side. Besides a minority of the area is covered with reddish brown soil, the majority of land surface is covered most with yellowish-brown soil weathered from basalt. Vertical basalt pillars can be spotted at steep cliffs on the islands in every part of the coastline, while its beaches are formed with coral debris. Healthy coral reef can be found at nearby seabed, and they are well spread out making up encompassing formation.

Biological Resources

The zone is found converging Kuroshio, South China monsoon, and tidal tide flow; therefore, abundant marine resources are found nearby. Most birds in this region are migratory and transit birds, such as snipes, thrushes, and warblers, while more frequently seen species are yellow-feet snipes, big-reed warbler, and house swallows. Summer residents are mostly dark-green terns, white-eyebrow terns, rock egrets, etc. Most birds build their nests for reproduction at the basalt cliff walls, and leave well until August or September.

Current Situation and Suggestion

In the past, Ding-Gou [Spindle Hook] Island, Ji-Shan Island, and Hsiao-Bai-Sha [Little White Sand] Island were mostly no-man islands. However, local fishermen & tourists would land to pick up bird eggs; also, the military would conduct artillery exercises nearby, even set-up shooting ranges.

Since the area is made a natural reserve , the military has ceased all such practices, while authority in-charge-of conducts irregular patrols with hired boats. In recent years, tourism has been developing most prosperously in Penghu, rendering tremendous pressure from tourism and sightseeing to these islands. Since visitors continue to pick up bird eggs, interrupting birds’ ecosystem, with incidents of thefts of stones & grits, it is strongly suggested and recommended that any developmental activities to be prohibited within the zone in order to protection the basalt from destruction.

Scenic Characteristics

Penghu archipelago is one of the three main volcanic groups in Taiwan, aside from Hwa Yu, and most of the rock formation found on the islands is basalt. Because of contraction of lava, vertical basalt pillars are formed in sextuple-angle or multi-angle pillars. In addition to the effects of erosion and other land contour, variations of vertical basalt pillars are created.

Ding-Go [Spindle Hook] Island is the most unique in landscape amongst all as its vertical pillars extend in various directions and shapes, withstanding erosion and wind abrasion, the peculiar sight of eroded pillars between “heavenly gleams” is created. Ji-Shan Island is of typical basalt island, and it is found in parts: the large and the small one. The facets of most pillars are sextuple-angled ones with geometrically even splits and are well developed, and these pillars stand straight up from the seabed, a spectacular sight. Hsio-Bai-Sha [Little White Sand] Island possesses the unique view of curve basalt pillars with a large smooth platform to the north. The platform of rocks stones raised up is in bean-curd shape because of sea-water erosion ; to the east , there is a seemingly half-moon shaped tiny volcanic crater.

Transportation Conditions

Boat ride is a must from Penghu island to the area; Ding-Go [Spindle Hook] and Ji-Shan Island are not easy to land on, however, panorama view is attainable circling them around on dingles from Makung . Hsiao-Bai-Sha [Little White Sand] Island is difficult to get ashore for regular vessel when it is too windy.

References

  • Mr. Wang Hsin. 1990. Investigation Report - Basalt Natural Reserve Zone – Penghu. Issue No. (3) – Final Report - Investigative Research Study Project For Natural Culture Scenery - Council of Agriculture – Executive Yuan. Council of Agriculture – Executive Yuan. Taipei.
  • Mr. Wang Hsin, Mr, Wu Fang-Hao, Mr. Feng Zhi-Hwa, Mr. Wang Yong-Hsieng. 1990. Investigation Report – Vertical Basalt Pillars – Penghu County. Annual Publication – Taiwan Provincial Museum, 33:17-54.
  • Penghu County Government. 1996. Basalt Natural Reserve Zone – Penghu. Penghu County Government. Penghu.
  • Penghu County Government. 1997. Guide of Landscape Conservation I – Environmental Protection – Vertical Basalt Pillars. Penghu County Government. Penghu.
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Visit counts:2177 Last updated on:2016-07-22