Geology, ‘far from the madding crowd’, along the northern border of Vietnam

To the north of Hanoi, about a day's drive by car, lies Ha Giang Province, the northernmost region of Vietnam. Ha Giang is remote from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and beyond its eponymous provincial capital towards the border with China, mountains rise quickly to Quan Ba, ‘Heaven's Gate’. The mountains form an uneven landscape of steep‐sided karst rising from deep river‐cut gorges and form a formidable barrier on the northern frontier of Vietnam. Beyond ‘Heaven's Gate’ lies the little travelled region of Dong Van, with its majestic mountains of Palaeozoic strata rising precipitously to the sky. Here, a century ago, the French geologists Henri Mansuy and Jacques Deprat documented early finds of fossils from lower Palaeozoic strata on the border with China.

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