Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2012, Vol. 67 ›› Issue (3): 291-300.doi: 10.11821/xb201203001

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Spatial Distribution of Major Natural Disasters of China in Historical Period

LIU Yi1, YANG Yu1,2   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2011-11-07 Revised:2012-01-30 Online:2012-03-20 Published:2012-05-14
  • Supported by:
    National Technology R&D Program, No.2008BAK50B05; Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.KZCXZ-YW-Q03-08

Abstract: Based on collation of historical documents and records of China's major disasters in the historical period, this paper analyzes the characteristics of frequency and distribution of major disasters, including the number of occurrences, the structure and distribution of major disasters, and the number and disttribution of dead people induced by the major disasters. The conclusions can be drawn as follows. (1) Through the analysis of the frequency of major disasters, we found that occurrences of different types of disasters were different and the provincial patterns were significantly different from each other. There is close relationship between different types of disasters and their distribution. (2) Based on the analysis of the disaster losses, the spatial pattern of losses was not the same as that of frequency. The reasons for the above phenomena are as follows. (1) China is one of the countries most affected by natural disasters. The hazard-formative environments and hazard-formative factors of different types of disasters are significantly different. So the natural condition is the decisive factor of the distribution of different major disasters. (2) The losses caused by natural disasters were closely related to the concentration of economic and population. In general, the number of dead people was larger in the areas with more developed agriculture, culture and business.

Key words: natural disasters, spatial pattern, historical period