Mathematical Geology

, Volume 36, Issue 4, pp 447–461 | Cite as

On Fractal Dimensions of China's Coastlines

  • Zhu Xiaohua
  • Cai Yunlong
  • Yang Xiuchun


The fractal dimensions of China's coastlines are preliminarily discussed on the basis of GIS in this paper. Some significant conclusions are drawn. The fractal relationship between the length of China's continental coastline L and the yardstick r is log L = 3.99 − 0.16 log r on the scale 1:2,500,000 map. The fractal relationship between the length of Jiangsu province's coastline and the yardstick may be established as log L = 2.82 − 0.10 log r on the scale 1:50,000 map. Using the divider method, the fractal dimension of China's continental coastline is 1.16, Taiwan Island is 1.04, etc. The fractal dimensions of coastlines of the Bohai sea, the Yellow sea, the East China sea, and the South China sea tend to increase from north to south, indicating that the complexity of China's coastlines increases toward low latitudes. The substantial components of coast, biological function, and climate from north to south result in a change in fractal dimensions along the coasts of China. The fractal dimension of a coastline is different from the average fractal dimension of all its parts. The more parts of a coastline, the larger the difference between the fractal dimension of the original coastline and the average fractal dimension of all its parts. Faults control the basic trends and fractal dimensions of coastlines as a whole in the studied areas of Taiwan Island and Changle-Lufeng. The more the controlling effect of the faults, the smaller the fractal dimension of the coastline. The less the controlling effect of the faults, the larger the fractal dimension of the coastline. The results indicate that the faults control not only the basic trend of a coastline but also the complexity in the studied areas of Taiwan Island and Changle-Lufeng.

fractal fractal dimension coastline China 


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Copyright information

© International Association for Mathematical Geology 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhu Xiaohua
    • 1
  • Cai Yunlong
    • 1
  • Yang Xiuchun
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeographyPeking UniversityBeijingPeople's Republic of China
  2. 2.China Center of Desert ResearchBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingPeople's Republic of China

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