The Baigong Pipes: nature or advanced technology?

Mount Baigong Shan is located about 40 km from the county town of Delingha, in the province of Qinghai and administered by the autonomous Mongolian and Tibetan prefecture of Haixi. At its feet there are also three caves, two of which collapsed while the last, whose floor is two meters below ground level, with the ceiling reaching eight meters at the highest point, has a depth of six meters.
Inside and at the entrance but also in the nearby salt lake Toson (Tuosu Lake) and on the adjacent beach there are visible the so-called Baigong Pipes, also known as Bai Gongshan Iron Pipes or Delingha Pipes, a series of pipe-like features identified by some as fossil trees or tree roots but considered by others to be an enigma, enough to count them among the OOPArts, "out of time" objects.

The rusty pipes, ranging from needle size to 16-inch diameter, reach from the bottom of the mountain to the lake 260 meters away. Many of the hollow tubes are of uniform size and appear to be positioned specifically.
The ancient objects are embedded deep enough in the wall of the mountain and floor to exclude that they were placed by human hand.
Their discovery by a group of US scientists looking for traces of dinosaur fossils can be traced back to 1998 (others attribute it instead to Bai Yu, a Chinese writer, when he was exploring a remote part of the Qaidam Basin in 1996) but the local government of Delingha initially chose not to spread the news of the discovery until a report by Ye Zhou appeared on Henan Dahe Bao in June 2002.

Later, given the fame achieved by the finds, it was decided to promote the discovery as a tourist attraction by making sure that the message that the pipes were of unknown origin, perhaps alien, passed.
In 2002 the local government decided to plan a mission to investigate the mysterious pipes: from the tests made by the reasearcher Liu Shaolin at local smeltery, their composition has a prevalence of silicon dioxide and calcium oxide, 30% ferric oxide and 8% of an unknown alloy.
The pipes would be very ancient, the locals have known them for centuries and made them protagonists of a series of legends related to Mount Baigong and the intervention of "beings from outside", alleged extraterrestrials who would have settled in that region by creating various buildings, before the arrival of man.

Given the presence of that "unknown element", Liu Shaolin supported the alien origin of the finds, in fact the pipes would date back to a period between 140-150 thousand years ago and Thermoluminescence testing established that the pipes long predated human habitation in the area, which took place only 30 thousand years ago.
Even for Yang Ji, a researcher from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Extraterrestrial Theory on the mystery of Mount Baigong would be understandable and worthy of being examined.

Subsequently other more conventional explanations for the pipes were proposed: Chinese geologists found that the pipes varied widely in size and shape and that they were largely composed of carbon and pyrite cements, all naturally occurring as a result of geological processes.
It was assumed that uplift of the Plateau of Tibet left fissures in hard sandstone into which magma was forced, and chemical effects of following geological processes resulted in the appearance of rusty iron. However, there was no evidence of ancient volcanoes in the area that justified this thesis.
Another explanation suggested that the same fissures filled with iron-rich sediments during flooding of the area, and this sediment hardened into pipelike structures of iron pyrite.
To date, the hypothesis that the Baigong pipes are remains of fossilized trees and/or plants is the most accredited by the scientific community and would be confirmed in a study done by two American researchers, Joann Mossa and B.A. Schumacher, who had studied similar cylindrical structures found in soils in southern Louisiana near Citronelle and concluded, in an article published in 1993 in the Journal of Sedimentary Research, that processes of pedogenesis and diagenesis had resulted in mineral elements forming around tree roots, the interiors of which rotted away, leaving the hollow pipelike cylinders.

The Baigong pipes and the Citronelle sandstone formations are not the only examples of this strange phenomenon: similar structures have been found within a Navajo reservation and hematite pipes, dating from the Jurassic period, have also been found in sub-horizontal, vertical and planar layers in other areas of the southwestern United States and Utah, which, according to the studies carried out on site, would have formed naturally thanks to the precipitation of hematite in the sandstone.

However, the rational explanation of the presence of the Baigong pipes also opens the way to several questions with no apparent answer: how long does it take for iron sediments to agglomerate? How many millennia have those trees survived to make iron sediments clump around its roots?

They are not the only dark points: on the southern shore of Lake Toson in 2002 the presence of an apparently metallic pyramidal structure, about sixty meters high whose origin is shrouded in mystery, would have been reported.
The proximity of ponds and a complex of canals and the famous pipes could suggest that the pyramid was part of a drainage system to pump salt water from Toson Lake.

Conspiracy theorists believe Mount Baigong was once visited by an advanced extraterrestrial race, probably from Mars and that the artificial pyramid once housed a laboratory.
The elements in favor of this thesis would be different: the entire area surrounding the mountain consists of large expanses of flat terrain that would have been an ideal landing site for large spaceships. The top of the mountain represents a perfect observation point that could be used to monitor landings and take-offs.
In addition, mining explorations have shown that the area contains various mineral deposits, useful resources for any industrious civilization, the extraction of which would require an energy source and this is where the pipes would enter the scene.

One of the questions that Chinese scientists were trying to answer was why the pipes went to salt water when another freshwater lake was even closer to the pyramid.
Salt water contains a higher percentage of sodium chloride useful in the process called electrolysis, which basically requires the passage of an electric current through a solution or a molten substance. The resulting chemical reaction allows the separation of materials because when salt water is subjected to electrolysis, it breaks down into hydrogen and oxygen ... a mixture of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen is commonly used as rocket fuel.

Has there really been the intervention of an alien force? Or has the Force of Nature succeeded in surprising us once again?

"An 'OOPArt' discovered!!
Thinkers pondering...
Mystics delving..."

-El Santos

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Cover Image by Frank Kovalchek from Anchorage

Article image by Darwin Pucha Cofrep

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