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China’s Physical Geography
Taklimakan Desert
• Taklimakan
• Means, “Land of
irrevocable death”
• Vast, sandy desert
• Located N.W. China
– Kunlun Mountains
(Sian) to south
– Tian Sian and Tarim
River to North
• 105,000 square miles in
central Tarim Basin
• 984 ft. high sand dunes
– Space needle 605ft
– Columbia tower 967ft
East China Sea
• East China
• 290,000 square miles
• Largely shallow with 71%
less than 650ft deep
• Average depth = 1,145Ft
• Weather dominated by
monsoon wind systems
South China Sea
• South China
• Covers 848,000 square miles
• Located between S.E. Asian
mainland and Taiwan, the
Philippines and Borneo
• S.W. part (from Gulf of Siam
to Java Sea) is a submerged
plain and generally shallow
• N.E. part is deep basin
– Depths up to 18,000 feet
• Many islands dot sea
Mount Everest
• Mt. Everest
• Chinese call Zhumulong Mafeng
• On border of China and Nepal in
central Himalayas.
• 29,028 feet
• Highest mountain in the world
Tian Shan
• Tian Shan
• Shan mean “mountain”
• 1,500 miles long from Pamir Mts
through N.W. China to ChinaMongolian border
• Dry climate so snow line is usually
above 11,000 ft.
• Coal, iron, lead, zinc are mined
• Grains are main crop in valleys
Turfan Depression
• Turfan
Also called Dzungarian Basin
Fault trough 650km long
Lowest point 505 ft below sea level
Lowest point in China
Intensely farmed
Famous for grapes
Melons, peaches, apricots, nuts,
cotton, silk and wheat also produced
Mekong River
• Mekong River • 2,600 miles long
• Headwaters in Tibetan Highlands,
through Yunnan province, forms
Myanmar (Burma)-Laos border,
through Laos, to Cambodia, forming
Mekong Delta (fertile region in
Vietnam and spills into S. China Sea
Catfish = 118 inches, 661.4 pounds
North China Plain
• North China
135,000 square miles
2nd largest plain
Flat and low (below 150 ft)
River channels are higher than
surrounding area
• Highest proportion of land under
cultivation in all of China
Yellow River
• Yellow River
• Chinese call it Huang He
• 3,000 miles long
• Headwaters in Kunlun Mts. Flows
east into Yellow Sea
• Dry, winter season, river is slow and
most of riverbed is empty
• In summer, river rages out of
• Since 2nd century B.C, river has
flooded over 1,500 times with 9
major course changes
• Diverted once on purpose to stall
Japanese invasion in 1938
Yangzi River
• Yangzi River
• Also Yangtze
• Headwaters in Tibetan
• Flows east for 3,450 mi
• Flows through China’s middle
– One of world’s most productive
agricultural regions
– One of world’s most populated
• Long used as a major east-west
trade and transportation route
Gobi Desert
• Gobi Desert
• 1,000 mi. on plateau with area of
500,000 sq. mi
• East to West across S.E. Mongolia
and N. China
• Grassy fringe supports small
population of nomadic Mongolian
sheep/camel herders
• Fierce sand and wind storms
Yunnan Plateau
• Yunnan
• Eastern half is limestone contains
canyonlike valleys, precipitous mts
• Marked by numerous sinks, ravines,
underground streams
• Rugged terrain produces wide range
of flora fauna
Sichuan Basin
• Sichuan Basin
Also known as Red Basin
One of most attractive regions
75,000 sq mi
Surrounded by mountains
– Protect is against cold and North winds
in winter
• Very hilly (except for Chengdu plain)
• Little arable land so farmers must
build terraces on slopes to grow