A group of Chinese scientists has discovered a sinkhole in southern China containing an entire hidden forest at the bottom of it.

Why it matters: According to USA Today, scientists and researchers believe the sinkhole may be home to new varieties of plants and animals.

What they’re saying: The leader of the expedition team, Chen Lixin, said, “I wouldn’t be surprised to know that there are species found in these caves that have never been reported or described by science until now,” per Live Science.

  • George Veni, the executive director of the National Cave and Karst Research Institute in the United States, told Live Science the discovery was no surprise, as southern China is extremely susceptible to sinkholes.
  • Veni explained how sinkholes are often a place of refuge for different lifeforms and help store water underground.

Details: The massive sinkhole is 630 feet deep, 1,000 feet long and 490 feet wide, with 131-foot trees and shoulder-high plants throughout, per NDTV.

  • It’s made up of “three caves and measures 5 million square meters, the equivalent of 2,000 Olympic swimming pools,” reports USA Today.
  • It was discovered in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, near the village of Ping’e in Leye county, according to the Chinese government’s official news agency Xinhua, reports USA Today.