Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2020, Vol. 75 ›› Issue (7): 1373-1385.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202007004

• Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and Human Activities • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Geomorphological characteristics of debris flow gullies on the edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

LIANG Xinyue1,2,5(), XU Mengzhen2, LYU Liqun2,3, CUI Yifei2, ZHANG Fengbao1,4   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Soil Erosion and Dryland Farming on the Loess Plateau, Institute of Soil and Water Conservation , CAS and Ministry of Water Resources, Yangling 712100, Shaanxi, China
    2. State Key Laboratory of Hydroscience and Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
    3. Beijing Engineering Research Center of Soil and Water Conservation, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China
    4. Institute of Soil and Water Conservation, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, Shaanxi, China
    5. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2019-11-02 Revised:2020-05-27 Online:2020-07-25 Published:2020-09-25
  • Contact: ZHANG Fengbao
  • Supported by:
    Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDA23090401);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41790434)


The edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is characterized by high topographic relief, significant tectonic motion, extreme precipitation, and densely populated active debris flow gullies. It is essential to scientifically categorize the debris flow gullies to understand their mechanisms, prevent and mitigate debris flow disasters, and find out strategies to restore the ecology. The present study carried out topographical measurements and statistical analyses of seven regions on the edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, in which active debris flow gullies are concentrated. The debris flow gullies are classified into three types by means of nonmetric multidimensional scaling. Type I is formed by rainstorms in exposed bedrock areas, Type II is formed by glaciers in exposed bedrock areas, and Type III is formed by rainstorms in depositional basins. The variation in landforms of the three types is analyzed using Kruskal-Wallis tests. The sources of loose material and the characteristics of water flow and sediment transport in all the three types of debris flow gullies are discussed from the aspects of geology, topography, and climate. It is shown that the activity of Type II increases along with the warming of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and the activities of types I and III increase along with the frequency of extreme rainfalls.

Key words: Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, categorization of debris flow gullies, nonmetric multidimensional scaling, Kruskal-Wallis test