Four Major Plateaus

Main Mountain Ranges Basins
Plains Main Rivers Lakes
Natural Conditions Land Characteristics  

Four Major Plateaus

  China's four major plateaus: the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the Inner Mongolia Plateau, the Loess Plateau and the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau.


Qinghai-Tibet Plateau


Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Situated in southwest China, it is the largest plateau in China, covering 2.5 million square km, or nearly a quarter of the national total land area. With an elevation averaging between 3,000 and 5,000 meters, it is also the highest plateau on earth, and is known as the "roof of the world." As it is surrounded and traversed by several snow-capped mountain ranges, like the Kunlunshan, Qilianshan, Hengduanshan and Himalayan mountains, which abound in glacier, the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is where many of China's major rivers originate.


Inner Mongolia Plateau


Inner Mongolia Plateau The second largest plateau in China, it lies between 1,000 and 1,500 meters above sea level in north China. Covering 700,000 square km, the plateau has a gentle rolling terrain and vast grasslands, with some parts covered with arid Gobi and deserts.


Loess Plateau


Loess Plateau Situated west of the Taihangshan Mountains, east of the Qilianshan Mountains, south of the Great Wall and north of the Qinling Mountains, it covers around 500,000 square km and lies 1,000 to 2,000 meters above sea level. Covered with thick, porous loess, the plateau is crisscrossed with ravines and gullies, and has fragmented landforms due to long-term scouring of rainfall and streams. Water eroded area accounts for 430,000 square km.


Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau


Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau Covering 500,000 square km, it comprises east Yunnan Province and most parts of Guizhou Province. It has an elevation of 1,000 to 2,000 meters and a terrain that descends from northwest to southeast. It is covered with numerous mountain ridges, valleys and rugged landforms. There are some small basins in mountains, with concentrated population and developed agriculture.