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Volume 40, Issue 2
Mar 2024

Ch'ing-shui Cliffs
Tarokok National Park, Taiwan

The formation of these steep cliffs was caused by the orogenic movement, with the Philippine Plate and the Eurasian Plate forming a fault line. The outcropping above sea level is composed of metamorphosed limestone marble, gneiss, and green schist, and is classified as a metamorphic complex area of Dananao on the geological map. Because there are very few coastal cliffs in the world that exhibit such a great elevation drop, the natural landscape of "high cliff valley" makes Ch'ing-shui Cliff a rare coastal cliff landform. It is also the highest coastal cliff in Taiwan. This section of the coast is continually beaten and eroded by the sea water of the Pacific Ocean, and the present rock walls are subject to extreme natural forces, such as earthquakes and typhoons. The beaches below are full of different sizes of marble stones, from giant boulders to small grains of sand.

The pictured cliff system runs adjacent to the famous "Marble Gorge" in Tarokok National Park and features one of the most rugged rocky shores in Taiwan. Marble formations only reveal themselves after millions of years of erosion and continued uplifting, while calcium carbonate remains accumulated some 230 million years ago. These deposits through time, pressure, and the elements were gradually lithified into the limestone that in turn metamorphosed into marble. As Taiwan was uplifted from the pressures of the colliding plates, the erosive forces of weathering and water worked to carve out the gorges seen today. Erosion by the Liwu River against the constantly elevating land combined with the heavy sub-tropical rains resulted in a rapid transformation of the landscape. Marble, which is relatively hard and resistant to erosion, nevertheless relented to these forces resulting in unusually steep cliffs and narrow canyons. (Photograph taken in November 2023 by Markes Johnson, Professor Emeritus, Geosciences Department, Williams College, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA.)

JCR Featured Topics

               Volume 37, Issue 3
                        May 2021

Rock Beauty Angelfish on Shark Bend Reef, Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S.A.

Rock Beauty Angelfish on Shark Bend Reef, Pompano Beach, Florida, U.S.A. The rock beauty angelfish (Holacanthus tricolor) is a fish species associated with clear, shallow reef habitats of the tropical western Atlantic Ocean. It can be found from Bermuda to the Bahamas and from Florida down to southeastern Brazil. Their diet consists mainly of sponges, but they have been known to occasionally feed on planktonic animals, small invertebrates, coral, tunicates, algae, and even mucus secreted from other fish. It has a flat, oval black body with trailing black dorsal and anal fins (with yellow and orange margins), a yellow tail, and a yellow face with a black mouth. The juvenile is almost completely yellow, with a black spot on either side that grows slowly to cover most of its body. The lobes of the dorsal, anal, and pectoral fins produce into long filaments as the fish ages. Identification of the rock beauty is based upon the distinctive coloration rather than body morphology. They are most commonly harvested for the aquarium trade, even though their specific diets and territoriality make them a difficult species to keep in captivity.

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