Wednesday, May 5, 2021
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Loess Plateau

Loess Plateau is located to the south of Inner Mongolian Plateau. It borders Great Wall in the north, Qinling Mountains in the south, Taihang Mountains in the east, and Qilian Mountains in the west, crossing Qinghai, Gansu, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan and some other provinces. With an area of about 400, 000 square km and average altitude between 800 - 2,000 m, Loess Plateau is the third largest plateau in China. Most part of the plateau is covered with a layer of loess about 50 - 80 m thick. With so much loess covering such a large area, the plateau is really a natural miracle.

Loess Plateau has million of gullies. It can be subdivided into Longzhong (also called Longxi) Plateau, Longdong Shaanbe Plateau, Shanxi Plateau and Weihe (also called Guangzhong) Plain, according to the formation process and characteristics. The splendid loess pillars, peculiar peaks, cave dwellings and folk customs attract tourists from everywhere.

On the other hand, the plateau has suffered from a serious loss of water and land erosion. Much of the loess is flushed away into the Yellow River by rain, filling the river with mud and sand, and also carving out many gullies on the plateau. Research shows that exposed to precipitation, escpecially thunderstorms which often occur on the plateau, the porous loess can hardly avoid becoming eroded by the flowing water. This has been exacerbated by man-made devastation. Now, Chinese government is taking mersures to reforest some of the cultivated land and plant grass to control the loss of water and erosion.

Do you know?

Loess is engendered under the conditions of a dry or semidry continental climate. The substance of the loess comes from faraway Central Asia, Mongolian Gobi and deserts to the northwest of the plateau. The arid and strong northwest wind keeps bringing the efflorescent particles to the southeast. Those particles are deposited year and year, thus forming Loess Plateau.
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