Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 1039–1049 | Cite as

Topographic characteristics for the geomorphologic zones in the northwestern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau

  • Wei-ming Cheng
  • Shang-min ZhaoEmail author
  • Cheng-hu Zhou
  • Xi Chen


Based on geomorphologic and digital elevation model (DEM) data, the topographic characteristics of the northwestern edge of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are analyzed. Five representative peaks are first determined according to the topographic profile maps for the ridge and piedmont lines, and then the topographic gradient characteristics are analyzed according to the representative topographic profile acquisition method. Based on the geomorphologic database data, the regions between the ridge and the piedmont lines are divided into four geomorphologic zones; and the topographic characteristics are finally analyzed for the different geomorphologic zones regions using the DEM data. The research results show that from the piedmont to the ridge, there exist four geomorphologic zones: arid, fluvial, periglacial and glacial. The arid has the lowest elevation, topographic gradient, relief and slope characteristics. The fluvial has lower elevation and the highest topographic gradient, but with lower relief and slope characteristics. With higher elevation, the periglcial has lower topographic gradient, but the highest relief and slope characteristics. The glacial has the highest elevation with higher topographic gradient, relief and slope characteristics.


Topographic characteristics Geomorphologic zone Topographic gradient Topographic profile map Qinghai-Tibet Plateau 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wei-ming Cheng
    • 2
  • Shang-min Zhao
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Cheng-hu Zhou
    • 2
  • Xi Chen
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Surveying and Mapping, College of Mining TechnologyTaiyuan University of TechnologyTaiyuanChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and GeographyChinese Academy of SciencesUrumqiChina

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