Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2019, Vol. 74 ›› Issue (5): 839-856.doi: 10.11821/dlxb201905001

• Geomorphological Division •     Next Articles

Geomorphological regionalization theory system and division methodology of China

CHENG Weiming1,2,3,4,ZHOU Chenghu1,2,LI Bingyuan1,SHEN Yuancun1   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
    3. Jiangsu Center for Collaborative Innovation in Geographical Information Resource Development and Application, Nanjing 210023, China
    4. Collaborative Innovation Center of South China Sea Studies, Nanjing 210093, China
  • Received:2018-03-05 Revised:2019-03-07 Online:2019-05-25 Published:2019-05-24
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41571388);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41421001);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41590845)


Geomorphological regionalization and geomorphological types are the two core contents of geomorphologic research. Despite that there are many research achievements on the study of geomorphological regionalization, defects still exist such as the inconsistence of landform indicators, the small quantity of division grades, the disparity of geomorphological characteristics, the difference of mapping results and the small scale of zoning maps. New requirements for the national geomorphological regionalization therefore should be proposed at the request of national geo-information surveying and other national specific projects. On the basis of combing the theories of geomorphological regionalization in China including plate tectonics and crustal features, geomorphological features from endogenic and exogenic forces, and differences and regional differentiations of geomorphological types, a new research program of China's geomorphological regionalization with five grades, that is, major region, sub-major region, region, sub-region and small region, was proposed based on the previous geomorphological regionalization proposed in 2013 which divided the whole China into 6 major geomorphological regions and 37 districts. The major contents of the new geomorphological regionalization program can be summarized as follows: (1) principles of the national multi-grades geomorphological regionalization were established, (2) hierarchical indicator systems of the geomorphological regionalization (i.e. characteristics of the terrain ladder under the control of tectonic setting, combinations of regional macro-form types, combinations of endogenic and exogenic force and basic types of morphology, combinations of regional morphological types, combinations of regional micro-morphological types) were constructed, (3) naming rules and coding methods of the geomorphological regionalization were proposed, (4) precise positioning techniques and methods of the multi-grades geomorphological regionalization based on multi-source data were developed. On the basis of this new geomorphological regionalization project, the partitioning works of national five-grade geomorphological regionalization of 1:250,000 of China were successfully completed. And the geomorphological regionalization systems of the whole China were divided into 6 major regions, 36 sub-major regions, 136 regions, 331 sub-regions and more than 1500 small regions. In addition, the database and the management information system of the national geomorphological regionalization were then established. This research is of important guiding significance for promoting the development of China's regional geomorphology and the application research based on geomorphological regionalization.

Key words: geomorphologic regionalization, geomorphologic types, five-grade geomorphologic regions, hierarchical system, geomorpology in China