150,000-Year-Old Pipes in China

150,000-Year-Old Pipes Baffle Scientists in China: Out of Place in Time?

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By Tara MacIsaac Epoch Times

Oopart (out of place artifact) is a term applied to dozens of prehistoric objects found in various places around the world that seem to show a level of technological advancement incongruous with the times in which they were made. Ooparts often frustrate conventional scientists, delight adventurous investigators open to alternative theories, and spark debate.

In a mysterious pyramid in China’s Qinghai Province near Mount Baigong are three caves filled with pipes leading to a nearby salt-water lake. There are also pipes under the lake bed and on the shore. The iron pipes range in size, with some smaller than a toothpick. The strangest part is that they may be about 150,000 years old.

Dating done by the Beijing Institute of Geology determined these iron pipes were smelted about 150,000 years ago, if they were indeed made by humans, according to Brian Dunning of Skeptoid.com. 

And if they were made by humans, history as it is commonly viewed would have to be re-evaluated.

The dating was done using thermoluminescence, a technique that determines how long ago crystalline mineral was exposed to sunlight or heated. Humans are only thought to have inhabited the region for the past 30,000 years. Even within the known history of the area, the only humans to inhabit the region were nomads whose lifestyle would not leave any such structures behind.

The state-run news agency  Xinhua in China reported  on the pyramid, the pipes, and the research began by a team scientists sent to investigate in 2002. 

Though some have since tried to explain the pipes as a natural phenomenon, Yang Ji, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told Xinhua the pyramid may have been built by intelligent beings. He did not dismiss the theory that ancient extraterrestrials may be responsible, saying this theory is “understandable and worth looking into … but scientific means must be employed to prove whether or not it is true.”

Another theory is that it was built by prehistoric humans with techniques lost to humans of a later period. 

The pipes lead into a salty lake, though a twin lake nearby contains freshwater. The surrounding landscape is strewn with what Xinhua described as “strangely shaped stones.” Rocks protrude from the ground like broken pillars.

The head of the publicity department at the local Delingha government told Xinhua the pipes were analyzed at a local smeltery and 8 percent of the material could not be identified. The rest was made up of ferric oxide, silicon dioxide, and calcium oxide. The silicon dioxide and calcium oxide are products of long interaction between the iron and surrounding sandstone, showing the ancient age of the pipes. Liu Shaolin, the engineer who did the analysis, told Xinhua: “This result has made the site even more mysterious.”

“Nature is harsh here,” he said. “There are no residents let alone modern industry in the area, only a few migrant herdsmen to the north of the mountain.”

To further add to the mystery, Zheng Jiandong, a geology research fellow from the China Earthquake Administration  told state-run newspaper People’s Daily in 2007  that some of the pipes were found to be highly radioactive.  

Other Theories

Jiandong said iron-rich magma may have risen from deep in the Earth, bringing the iron into fissures where it would solidify into tubes. Though he admitted, “There is indeed something mysterious about these pipes.” He cited the radioactivity as an example of the strange qualities of the pipes.

Others have said iron sediments may have washed into the fissures, carried with water during floods.

Though Xinhua and other publications in China have referred to a pyramid or even a mysterious pyramid in which the pipes were found, some have said it was a pyramid-shaped natural formation. 

Another theory is that the pipes are fossilized tree roots.  Xinmin Weekly reported in 2003  that scientists found plant matter in an analysis of the pipes, and they also found what looked like tree rings. The article related the finding to a geological theory that in certain temperatures and under certain chemical conditions, tree roots can undergo diagenesis (transformation of soil into rock) and other processes that can produce iron formations.

Reports on the tree-root explanation for the so-called Baigong pipes often lead back to this Xinmin Weekly article or lack citation. It’s unclear exactly how well-supported this theory is in relation to the Baigong pipes.

An article published  in the Journal of Sedimentary Research in 1993 describes fossilized tree roots in South Louisiana in the United States.


Roberto Peron's picture

My initial impression would be that they are fossilzed tree roots.  But, then again, I think we greatly underestimate ancient humanity.  They weren't quite the club carrying throwbacks that they've been made out to be IMO.  As for brain size?  I think intelligence has more to do with how the brain is wired not size.  Neanderthals had bigger brains than modern humans but Homo sapiens are thought to be much more intelligent even though we have smaller brains.  So if it is brain size that marks intelligence then how do we explaim the big brained Neanderthals?  China had a very advanced ancient civilization so it would not surprise me at all if they made these iron pipes and used hem for carrying water.  

It's just an RV hook-up for a huge spacecraft, so the "gods" could land and take on fresh water. Most of them are humanoid and need water. Nearly all pyramids were created as landing pads, to keep the "paeons" at a distance, and show off power as much as possible. Much of earth history is a tragic recollection of "us and them," sky and ground. But we are slaves no longer.

Hundreds and hundreds of 'strange' artifacts arise. Mainstream sciense pushes them under the carpet, ignores thm or gives some funny 'explanations'. I hope time will come when real scientists like Tesla, Shuaberger will lead the mankind in new discoveries which will not be hidden from us.

Other similar "artifacts" have been found in the US, those are natural features and mostly made of hematite (ironstone), sandstone (silicone dioxide) and calcite (calcium oxide). Nothing worth going all woop-woopart !

Y'all obviously never watched the Flintstones. Neophytes...sheesh

As usual why let facts get in the way of a good “It’s Aliens Theory”. From what I’ve read here http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4181 they are fossilised trees!!! It quotes “The Chinese scientists eventually did come to the same conclusion, according to the Xinmin Weekly article. They used atomic emission spectroscopy to conduct a detailed chemical analysis of the rusty pipe fragments, and found them to contain organic plant matter. Under the microscope they found tree rings, consistently throughout the samples. Once they established that the Baigong Pipes were simply fossilized tree casts, they set about to discover how they got there.”

Peter Harrap's picture

Archeology unfortunately continues to claim that the discovery of old stuff dated oddly by archeologists (other than those who did the work, of course), must be the result of a mistake, or is faked.

On this basis ALL “scientifically” dated materials are suspect, but I digress!

Nobody CAN know how long we have been on Earth. There may well have been human life on Earth since it became a habitable planet. There is NO reaon why not.

Years ago, during the Leakey era, the leaky position was that we had only existed for 1.8 million years.

In astronomy, does anybody maintain we have found every star, and every galaxy, and that is that?

No, you would be thought mad if you did.

By the same token, anybody claiming what another has discovered and dated cannot be true, should be treated in the same way, and I am frankly sickened and dejected, by this because there are, worldwide, in universities, professors downgrading rejecting, and failing students who are more open-minded and curious than themselves.

Such academics need to find another occupation, as surely science has better things to do than reject a claim because it is Chinese, or Mohican.

Similarly, could everybody arguing the toss here stop and admit , not just that we do not know, but cannot, on occasion. Thankyou


We like to think we have all the answers about the history of our species but... at the same time, turn completely away from our more recent history as we learned time and again that we weren't nearly as smart as we thought we were.

Lessons in technology quite often endure. Lessons in life are often forgotten the next day :)

I am reasonably confident the ancient pipes found in China and several other world wide locations, are related to pictorial artifacts as related in the Voynich Manuscripts. See: http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/ciencia/imagenes_manuscrito/manuscrito...
(Particularly foldout picture of similar pipes; 86v)
I do not believe the manuscript is in any way an indication of the origins of the pipes, but may indicate a subterranean civilization that used such technologies over a hundred thousand years ago.

Carbon dating is bullsh**t but so is the "official" history record. There are "forbidden" history that could explain much of this but is being kept from humanity by an Oligarchy.

You're right. There have been several generations of human. Every one in the past has achieved a far more advanced technological level than we have yet, and time has lost virtually all evidence. But there are still some clues, huh.

THERMOLUMINESCENCE- When a sample of material is heated it glows with a faint blue light, known as thermoluminescence or TL. During its lifetime the material absorbs radiation from its environment and it is this which creates thermoluminescence. The older the material, the more radiation it has absorbed and the brighter the sample glows. By measuring the TL, we can calculate how much radiation has been absorbed and use this information to calculate the approximate age of the material.


Something that is highly radio active cannot be accurately tested with thermoluminescence. The more radio active an object, the older the it will appear when testing.


I don’t think that smelted iron can be dated.
Most iron back then came from meteorites with an iron nickle mix.
Plus humans only mastered the technology of smelted iron after several millennia of bronze metallurgy.

" Exactly how much research did you do for this story?

Like how about in 2003, when they analyzed them and found them to be organic, and found evidence of tree rings in the surrounding mountain, and concluded that they were fossilized tree roots.

Which is why some are big, some are small, some are going to the water, some are not.

Also there is no pyramid there, the “pipes” as you call them, or “roots” as they actually are, were found in caves, on Mount Baigong, and the only reason people refer to a pyramid, is because after they found the roots, people jumped to crazy speculation mode. They say the top of the mountain “resembles a pyramid”. Yeah, I guess it does, in the same way nearly every mountain in the world resembles a pyramid. Look it up.

This amount of research took less time than it would have taken you to submit this article to BIN.

Try harder next time. "

Description of the site appears to be an ancient reactor that was abandoned and decommissioned. Time has changed the site and neutralized the threat, but it seems too similar to Sandia's messaging to me:

Looking at various sites that deal with other 'pipes' in sandstone, there appears to be a natural explanation for these I am afraid...

Navajo "Pipes"

Natural concretionary pipe-like features, which are quite similar to the Baigong Pipes, occur in the Navajo Sandstone and other sandstones of Southwestern United States in the form of hematite "pipes". Hematite also occurs as other masses of diagenetic "ironstone" that exhibit a wide and amazing range of bizarre shapes, which can be described as both "strangely shaped stones" and "rusty scraps". For example, strangely shaped stones, pipe-like features, and other concretionary masses have been observed and described from the Navajo and other Jurassic sandstones within Utah and adjacent states. Brenda Beitler notes the presence of hollow "subhorizontal planar strata-bound pipes" and "vertical pipes", which have been created by the precipitation of hematite within the Navajo Sandstone. In addition, the bleached sandstone seen in the picture of the cave entrance is typical of sandstones, in which natural pipe-like features have been found. The pipe-like features are the result of natural self-organization processes, which occur during the precipitation of iron oxides within sedimentary rocks.

The reported composition of the rusty scraps, 30 percent ferric oxide and large amounts of silicon dioxide and calcium oxide, is consistent with the hematite masses found in the Navajo and other Jurassic sandstones in Utah and elsewhere in the Southwestern United States. The ferric oxide and large amounts of silicon dioxide is what a person would expect iron oxide cemented sandstone to consist of. Calcite and other carbonate cements and concretions are typically associated with the hematite masses in the Navajo and other sandstones and sedimentary rocks.

Louisiana "Cylinders"

Cylindrical structures very similar to the Baigong Pipes have also been found protruding from outcrops of Pliocene Citronelle Formation in the Florida parishes of Louisiana and in older Pleistocene fluvial sediments within South-central Louisiana. These structures are as much as 70 cm in diameter and 100 cm in depth. Detailed studies of these cylindrical structures found that they were created by the formation of ironstone rims around tap roots of pine trees by soil forming processes.

150,000 years ago pipe in China sounds about right. But I was looking for activity in china about 12,000 years ago....They both would be correct. 12,000 years ago, it was agricultural state...boy 150,000 years ago, it was high industry...can not say any more....thanks


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