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Topography of China

Geographic place of China

China is situated in Eurasia – the biggest continent in the world – in the western coast of the biggest in the world Pacific Ocean. Approximately 98 % of China territory is situated between in latitude 20° and 50° North on the topographic map. The biggest part of the country lies in moderate and subtropical zone, which respectively cover 45,6 and 26,1 % of China territory.

Looking on the world topographic map you will see that China borders with Korea in the north-east, with Russia and Mongolia in the north, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and India in the south-west, Burma, Laos and Vietnam in the south. China has sea borders with Japan, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia in the east and south-east.

China is one of the biggest countries in the world: its square is 9,6 millions of square kilometers, which is 6,5% of the whole territory of our Planet. According to the size China occupies third place among 160 countries and goes after Canada and Russia.

Topography of China

China has a very varied topography. One of its main peculiarities is – mountainous plateau, which occupies 65% of the whole territory.

Tsynhai-Tibetan plateau, the main part of which is Tibetan plateau, is the highest plateau on the world topographic map. This plateau with its extremely diversified relief and natural conditions approves biological complexity and local natural resources. In general the peculiarity of Tibetan relief is that it is sloping in the direction from North-West to South-East. The relief level goes down from 5000 m to 4000 m terrace-likely.

Tibet regions

The following regions can be distinguished in Tibet: mountain region of Himalayas, South Tibetan lowland, North Tibetan highland and mountain canyon of Eastern Tibet.

Mountain region of Himalayas is situated in the South Tibet; it is made up from several mountain ranges, stretched in the direction from east to west with the average height 6000 m above sea level. The peak Chomolungma in China-Nepal border has the height 8848,13 m and is the highest mountain in the world topographic map. The peaks of Himalayas are covered with ice and snow throughout the year. According to the structure and climate southern and northern mountainsides of Himalayas differ very much.

South Tibetan lowland is situated between range Gandis and Himalayas. River heads of the river Tsangpo and its inflows are situated here. There are a lot of river valleys and lakeside flatlands. All these valleys and flatlands, flat and fertile, are the main agricultural regions of Tibet.

North Tibetan highland is situated between mountains Kunlun, Tangla and Gandis-Shan - Nenchen Tangla. South Tibetan highland occupies two thirds of the Thar Desert territory. There are a lot of low round hills, divided by hollows. It is considered to be the most stock raising region of the Tibet.

In the East Tibet, to the east from Nagchu, famous tectonic break is situated: range Henduanshan, which form several deep canyons, stretching first in the direction from east to west and then turning in the direction from south to north. Three big rivers flow in this canyon: Nu Jiang, LanCang Jiang, Jin Sha Jiang. Peaks of canyons are covered with glaciers throughout a year; lower mountainsides are covered with thick growth and at the bottom of the mountain fertile valleys stretch out.

Mountains formation

20 millions years ago as a result of heavy clash of two continents Asia and India the youngest highland in the world - Tsynhai-Tibetan plateau appeared on the world topographic map. Since formed mountains became a frame for Tibet. Mountain systems of Tibet are divided into ranges, stretched in the direction of East-West and ranges, stretched in southern direction.

Kunlun mountains

Kunlun mountains are situated in the north and cross Tibetan plateau from east to west. Their average height is 5500-6000 m above sea level. From north side huge Tarim and Tsaidam basins adjoin to them, from south side – basins, lakes and wide canyons, mountains Kunlun are connected with South Tibetan plateau with the height of 5000 m above sea level. The highest mountain Muztag (Muztagh) reaches - 7723 m.

Gandisyshan mountains

Mountains Gandisyshan are situated in the south of North Tibetan highland at the turn of North Tibet, South Tibet and South-North Tibet. They also appeared to be the watershed of inside and outside water system of Tibet. The highest mountain of Gandisyshan achieves the height of 6656 meters.

Himalayas mountains

Himalayas mountains, stretched in the south part of Tibetan plateau, are formed of many ranges, the main part of which is situated at the boundary of China with India and Nepal. Himalayas mountains have extension of 2400 km, width about 200-300 km, average height above sea level – 6000 m. There are more than 80 peaks that exceed 7000 m and 10 peaks that exceed 8000 m. The highest mountain Chomolungma with the height 8843,13 m above sea level rises in the middle part of Himalayas, at the boundary of China and Nepal. Around Chomolungma in the square of 5000 square km there are 4 peaks, the height of which exceeds 8000 m and 42 peaks the height of which exceeds 7000 m.

Rivers and lakes of China

There are lots of rivers in China, the length of which is 220 000 kilometers. The rivers of China form inside and outside structure. Outer rivers are Chang Jiang, Hwang Ho, Heilongjiang, Zhujiang, Lancangjiang, Nun Jiang, Yalujiang, flowing into seas and oceans (the Pacific, Indian, Arctic Oceans). Their area covers about 64 % of territory of the country. The inside rivers, the number of which is not so numerous, are considerably outlying from each other and they became shallow along the majority length of them. They flow into the lakes of inside regions or disappear in the deserts and salty mires. Their drained area covers about 36 % of the territory of the country.

In China you can find a lot of lakes. The total area of them is about 80 000 square kilometers. There are also thousands of artificial lakes - water storages. The lakes of China can be also divided into inside and outside ones. Freshwater and rich in aqua products lakes, such as Poyang, Dungting, and Taihu are the outside lakes. The inner lakes are salty lakes, the biggest of which – Qinghai. Among lakes of inside regions there are many drained lakes, for example, Lobnor and Qiuyan.

Component part of territorial waters of China is glaciers and snow. They are located in the mountains in the western part of the country, occupying total area in 44 000 sq. km. These “natural reservoirs”, containing 2 300 billion cubic meters of water, provide many rivers in the West with huge amount of water.

Main rivers of China

Chang Jiang – the length is 6 300 km. The area of basin is 1 807 199 sq. km.
Catchment areas – Qinghai, Tibet, Yunnan, Sichuan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Anhui, Jiangsu and Shanghai
Inflow in - East China Sea

Hwang Ho – the length is 5 464 km. The area of basin is 752 443 sq. km.
Catchment areas – Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, Ningxia, Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Henan, Shandong
Inflow in - Bo Hai Sea

Heilongjiang - the length is 3 420 km. The area of basin is 1 620 170 sq. km.
Catchment areas - Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang
Inflow in - Sea of Okhotsk

Zhujiang - the length is 2 197 km. The area of basin is 452 616 sq. km.
Catchment areas – Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangxi, Guangdong
Inflow in - South China Sea

Lancangjiang - the length is 2 153 km. The area of basin is 161 430 sq. km.
Catchment areas – Qinghai, Tibet, Yunnan
Inflow in - South China Sea

Yalujiang - the length is 2057 km. The area of basin is 240 480 sq. km.
Catchment areas – Tibet
Inflow in - Bay of Bengal

Nun Jiang - the length is 2013 km. The area of basin is 124 830 sq. km.
Catchment areas – Tibet and Yunnan
Inflow in - Bay of Bengal

Main lakes of China

Qinghai – the area is 4 583 sq. km. 32,8 meters deep. Height is 3 196 m. above sea level. Qinghai. Salt

Shinkai - the area is 4 500 sq. km. 10 meters deep. Height is 69 m. Heilongjiang. Fresh

Poyang - the area is 3 583 sq. km. 16 meters deep. Height is 21 m. Jiangsu. Fresh

Dungting - the area is 2 820 sq. km. 30,8 meters deep. Height is 34,5 m. Hunan. Fresh

Taihu - the area is 2 425 sq. km. 3,33 meters deep. Height is 3,0 m. Jiangsu. Fresh

Hongze - the area is 1 960 sq. km. 4,75 meters deep. Height is 12,5 m. Jiangsu. Fresh

Nam Co - the area is 1 940 sq. km. Height is 4 593 m. Tibet. Salt

Siling - the area is 1 530 sq. km. Height is 4 514 m. Tibet. Salt

Vegetation of China

The flora of China is rich and diverse. The result of agriculture developing for a few thousand years many plants became domestic and people started cultivating them. There are 1 000 types of arboreal plants, 4 000 – officinal, 300 – fruit, 500 – fibrous, 300 – containing starch, 600 - oil-bearing plants and vegetable plantings.

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