Vietnam's iconic 'Kissing Rocks' at risk of collapse, experts warn


Vietnam's beloved "Kissing Rocks," a pair of towering rock formations nestled within the picturesque Ha Long Bay of Quang Ninh province, are facing an unprecedented threat of collapse due to a combination of geological processes and rising sea levels.

About the Kissing Rocks: Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site spanning an area of approximately 600 square miles, attracts both local and international tourists.

An iconic feature of the bay is the Kissing Rocks, which are also affectionately referred to as Hon Trong Mai. The two rocks, which tower at around 45.6 feet, resemble a rooster and a hen positioned in a romantic face-to-face pose. The Kissing Rocks exhibit an intriguing geological characteristic where the base is slender compared to the upper structure.

Threat of collapse: A scientific symposium held by the Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources in late July revealed the concerning situation surrounding the Kissing Rocks. Recent surveys conducted by the agency unveiled 40 unstable blocks around the formation, with 13 of them exhibiting a high risk of sliding or collapsing.

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During the event, geological expert Tran Diep Anh cautioned that "the structural integrity of the 'legs' of the rocks is compromised." He emphasized that factors such as erosion from waves, wind and human activity, including unregulated tourism and illegal fishing, have accelerated the degradation process. Even though access to the rocks is restricted, boat movements continue to impact them adversely.

Call to action: The experts proposed a range of solutions, including reinforcing the unstable blocks with cement, constructing supporting walls and implementing a network of barriers to protect the rocks from further damage.

They also urged the management board of Ha Long Bay to enforce measures to control tourism-related activities. These measures would involve regulating boat speeds in proximity to the rocks and educating local fishers about refraining from operations around the fragile Hon Trong Mai.

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