Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2023, Vol. 78 ›› Issue (5): 1233-1253.doi: 10.11821/dlxb202305011

• Surface Process and Land Use • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Spatial differentiation of Danxia landscapes in China and its influencing factors

YAN Luobin1,2(), HUANG Cheng1,2, LI Hongwei3, ZHANG Ke4, YUAN Wanming5, TIAN Yuntao4, QI Deli6   

  1. 1. School of Geographical Sciences, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
    2. New Liberal Arts Laboratory for Sustainable Development of Rural Western China, Chongqing 400715, China
    3. Guangdong Geological Survey Institute, Guangzhou 510080, China
    4. School of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai 519080, Guangdong, China
    5. Institute of Earth Sciences, China University of Geosciences, Beijing 100083, China
    6. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
  • Received:2022-11-01 Revised:2023-05-08 Online:2023-05-25 Published:2023-05-27
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41901005);Guangdong Special Fund for National Park Construction(2021GJGY026);Innovation Research 2035 Pilot Plan of Southwest University(SWUPilotPlan031)


Danxia landscapes are a landscape feature with the Danxia landform as the main body, and are widely distributed in China. An in-depth understanding of the landscape differentiation on a national scale is essential for the protection and utilization of Danxia landscapes as tourism resource. Based on data such as lithology, cliff height, stratum attitude, rock strength, and other data, this study quantitatively analyzes the spatial pattern of Danxia landscapes. Combining these data with the understanding from an on-site survey of more than 200 Danxia landforms across the country, the differentiation of Chinese Danxia landscapes is semi-quantitatively determined. Based on multiple geologic and geomorphologic factors, the Danxia landscape in China is divided into six distinctive regions: Southeast China, the Sichuan-Chongqing-Guizhou junction, the Ordos Plateau, the southwestern Ordos Basin, "Tianshan-Qilian", and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Through the national-scale comparison of Danxia landscapes, six key characteristics are noted. The basin size of red-bed deposits and the crustal uplift and subsidence during the Himalayan movement jointly controlled the spatial distribution of the Danxia landforms, while the tectonic deformation characteristics in different regions controlled the inclination of strata. The spatial lithological differences among different types of the basins affect the slope morphology. Rock strength has little effect on cliff height, but the difference in vertical rock strength affects the slope shape, which in turn affects the geomorphological process. The landform evolution stages affect the richness of individual and group landscapes. Finally, climate influences the currently active geomorphic processes, and the combination of vegetation and landforms in different climate zones shapes different Danxia landscape features and aesthetics. Nationally, the spatial distribution of Danxia characteristics is a regional manifestation of tectonic evolution, Earth's surface environment, and other factors.

Key words: Danxia landscape, Danxia landform, spatial differentiation, landscape differentiation, Himalayan tectonic plate movement