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China relief


China landscape
China landscape

China encompasses a great diversity of landscapes and a corresponding variety of natural resources. Generally speaking, China’s higher elevations are found in the west, where some of the world’s loftiest mountain ranges are located, including the Tian Mountains, the Kunlun Mountains, and the Himalaya. Devastating earthquakes tend to occur in a broad arc extending from the western edge of the Sichuan Basin north-east towards Bo Hai, the gulf on the northern shore of the Yellow Sea.

The country’s numerous mountain ranges enclose a series of plateaux and basins and furnish a notable wealth of water and mineral resources. A broad range of climatic types, from subarctic to tropical, and including large areas of alpine and desert habitats, supports a magnificent array of plant and animal life.

Mountains occupy about 43 per cent of China’s land surface; mountainous plateaux account for another 26 per cent; and basins, predominantly hilly and located mainly in arid regions, cover approximately 19 per cent of the area. Only 12 per cent of the total area may be classed as flatlands. China may be divided into six major geographical regions, each of which contains considerable geomorphological and topographical diversity.

This region consists of two basins—the Junggar Pendi (Dzungarian Basin) on the north and the Tarim Basin on the south—and the lofty Tian Mountains. The Tarim Basin contains the vast sandy Takla Makan (Taklimakan Shamo), the driest desert in Asia. Dune ridges in its interior rise to elevations of about 100 m (330 ft). The Turfan Depression (Turpan Pendi), the largest area in China with elevations below sea level, commands the southern entrance of a major pass through the Tian Mountains. The Junggar Pendi (or Dzungarian Basin), although containing areas of sandy and stony desert, is primarily a region of fertile steppe soils and supports irrigated agriculture.

The Mongolian Borderlands and the North-East


Located in north-central China, this is a plateau region consisting mainly of sandy, stony, or gravelly deserts that grade eastwards into steppe lands with fertile soils. This is a region of flat-to-rolling plains, partitioned by several barren flat-topped mountain ranges. Along its eastern border is the higher, forested Greater Khingan Range (Da Hinggan Ling).

Comprising all of Dongbei east of the Greater Khingan Range, the north-east region incorporates the Dongbei Pingyuan (Manchurian Plain) and its bordering uplands. The plain has extensive tracts of productive soils. The uplands are hilly to mountainous, with numerous broad valleys and gentle slopes. The Liaodong Peninsula, extending to the south, is noteworthy for its good natural harbours.

Northern China


This region lies between the Mongolian Borderlands on the north and the Yangzi River Basin on the south and consists of several distinct topographic units. The Loess Plateau on the north-west is formed by the accumulation of fine windblown silt (loess). The loosely packed loess is readily subject to erosion, and the plateau’s surface is transected by sunken roads, vertical-walled valleys, and numerous gullies. The region is extensively terraced and cultivated. The North China Plain, the largest flat lowland area in China, consists of fertile soils derived from loess. Most of the plain is under intense cultivation. Located to the east, the Shandong Highlands on the Shandong Peninsula consist of two distinct areas of mountains flanked by rolling hills. The rocky coast of the peninsula provides some good natural harbours. To the south-west are the Central Mountains, which constitute a formidable barrier to north-south movement. "China" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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