Kweichow Plateau

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kweichow Plateau

 

a plateau in China, part of the larger Yunnan-Kweichow plateau. On the north it slopes off sharply in cliffs into the Szechwan hollow, in the southeast it borders on the Nanling Mountains, and in the west it gradually turns into the Yunnan Plateau. The Kweichow Plateau is more than 600 km long and up to 500 km wide, and it has an average altitude of 1,000 m. Some of the surrounding mountain ranges reach an altitude of more than 2,000 m. The plateau is composed chiefly of limestone, but also of sandstone and clay shale. Its basins are filled with deposits of red soil. The effect of the monsoon subtropical climate on the limestone has resulted in the development of several varieties of karst: “stone forests,” corrie fields, funnels, wells, and caves. The top of the plateau is deeply furrowed and broken up by a network of eroded areas. Forest occupies less than 10 percent of the total area. In valleys there are natural pine forests and evergreen subtropical forests of Castanopsis, bamboo, and so forth up to an altitude of 1,000–1,200 m. At higher altitudes there are well-preserved oak and beech forests growing on yellow-brown soils. Rice, corn, and sweet potatoes are cultivated in the mountain basins. In some eastern areas, subtropical crops are also grown—tea, cotton, lacquer and tung trees, and persimmons.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.