Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2008, Vol. 63 ›› Issue (7): 725-734.doi: 10.11821/xb200807006

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Evolution of Palaeo- drainage System and Its Relationship with the Formation of Desert Landform in the Kumtag Desert

E Youhao1,2, WANG Jihe1, YAN Ping2, GAO Shangyu2, WANG Xuequan SU Zhizhu3, LIAO Kongtai3, LIU Hujun1, DING Feng1   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Combating Desertification, Gansu Province, Gansu Desert Control Research Institute, Wuwei 733000, Gansu, China;
    2. State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, College of Resources Science & Technology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China;
    3. Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
  • Received:2007-12-12 Revised:2008-04-12 Online:2008-07-25 Published:2008-07-25
  • Supported by:

    Jointly supported by the Key Project of Gansu Province and National Special Basic Research Fund for the Integrated Scientific Investigation on Kumtag Desert, No.QS041-C31-03; No.2006FY110800; Project for the Gansu Innovation Team


After surveying the Kumtag Desert, the evolution of palaeo-drainage system and its relationship with the formation of desert landform in the Kumtag Desert were studied using survey data, by combining remote sensing images with 1:100,000 scale topographic map and literatures. Some preliminary conclusions were obtained, that is, after the intense uplift of the Altun Mountains in the early Quaternary, a mass of deposition were denuded and conveyed by flood and accumulated on the northern piedmont of the Altun Mountains. The process of accumulation increased not only the depth of the pluvial fan but also lifted its anterior elevation, resulting in eastward deflexion of the palaeo-drainage system, due to lower elevation in the eastern side. After stabilization of the uplift of the Altun Mountains, the flood eroded the pluvial fan, and the gullies, such as Hongliu, Xiaoquan, Suosuo and so on were formed. On the basis of fluviation, the unique desert landscape such as plumed dunes had been formed through intensive wind erosion. The widespread gravel reliefs occurring in desert were constructed by flood events in a relatively short period of time. In addition, the lacustrine sediments appeared at 840 m above sea level reveals that Lop Nur was once connected with Hala lake by Aqik valley. After lake shrinkage, the ancient Shule river and floods from the northern hills gullied the lacustrine sediments from east and north respectively, and two groups of almost vertical Yardang landforms were shaped by wind erosion.

Key words: Kumtag Desert, Lop-Nur, palaeo-drainage system, gravel relief