Natural Regions, The Tibetan Plateau
Chomolungma, Karakoram Range, Kunlun Mountains, Pamirs, Tibet Autonomous Region
Occupying the remote southwestern portion of China is the high, mountain-rimmed Tibetan Plateau (Qing Zang Gaoyuan). Administratively, this region includes all of Tibet Autonomous Region and Qinghai Province and parts of Sichuan Province, Yunnan Province, Gansu Province, and Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.
The Tibetan Plateau is the world’s highest plateau region, with an average elevation of about 4,500 m (about 14,800 ft). Bordering mountain systems include the Himalayas on the south, the Pamirs and Karakoram Range on the west, and the Qilian Shan and Kunlun Mountains on the north. On China’s border with Nepal is Mount Everest (Chomolungma), the highest peak in the world at 8,850 m (29,035 ft). The surface of the Tibetan Plateau is dotted with salt lakes and marshes. Crossed by several mountain ranges, it contains the headwaters of many major southern and eastern Asian rivers, including those of the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Mekong, Yangtze (Chang Jiang), and Huang He (Yellow River). The landscape is bleak, barren, and rock strewn. Along the northern margins of the Tibetan Plateau where it merges into the northwestern steppe and desert is the Qaidam Pendi, a large depression that extends from east to west. The Qaidam Pendi consists of mountains, hills, stony and sandy deserts, playas (desert basins that periodically fill with water), and salt marshes.
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