Advances in Earth Science ›› 2020, Vol. 35 ›› Issue (6): 594-606. doi: 10.11867/j.issn.1001-8166.2020.052

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Development of Tectonic Geomorphology Study Promoted by New Methods in China: A Viewpoint from Reviewing the Tian Shan Researches

Lü Honghua 1( ),Youli Li 2   

  1. 1.School of Geographic Sciences, Key Laboratory of Geographic Information Science of Ministry of Education, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
    2.College of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes of Ministry of Education, Peking University, Beijing 100871, China
  • Received:2020-05-04 Revised:2020-05-25 Online:2020-06-10 Published:2020-07-06
  • About author:Lü Honghua (1978-), male, Li County, Hu'nan Province, Professor. Research areas include neotectonics and tectonic geomorphology. E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    the National Natural Science Foundation of China “Spatiotemporal pattern of river incision rates and its mechanism in the northern Tian Shan, northwestern China”(41771013);“Tectonic geomorphology at different time scales of the Urumqi River in the north front of the Tian Shan”(41371031)

Lü Honghua,Youli Li. Development of Tectonic Geomorphology Study Promoted by New Methods in China: A Viewpoint from Reviewing the Tian Shan Researches[J]. Advances in Earth Science, 2020, 35(6): 594-606.

Tectonic Geomorphology is an important branch of Geomorphology. Now the scope of tectonic geomorphology study has covered the interactions between tectonics, climate, surface processes and the influence on geomorphic evolution. The study of tectonic geomorphology in China started at the beginning of the 20th century, developed gradually in the 1950s, and entered a rapid development stage in the new century. Based on the long-term development, the study of tectonic geomorphology in China has formed a relatively complete theoretical and methodological system, and now presents a trend of the continuous intersection and integration with other adjacent disciplines. Now, several books on tectonic geomorphology have been published. The representative book abroad is Tectonic Geomorphology which was edited by Burbank D. W. and Anderson R. S., and was first published in 2001 and reprinted in 2012. In China, the first book on tectonic geomorphology is Active Tectonic Geomorphology which was edited by Yang Jingchun and Li Youli and was first published in 2011.

In recent years, the tectonic geomorphology study has been absorbing and integrating the new ideas and new methods of other disciplines, significantly promoting the development of tectonic geomorphology. At the 2019 China Geographic Congress & the 110th anniversary of the establishment of the Chinese Geographical Society, the authors organized the session "Theory, Method and Application of Tectonic Geomorphology", aiming to present the recent progresses of tectonic geomorphology study in China. Later, invited by the editorial office, the authors organized the special column with the same name in the journal Advances in Earth Science. The contents of this column mainly dealt with the classical theoretical problems of geomorphology (the evolution and the controlling mechanism of river terrace, planation surface, and alluvial fan), new methods (such as K-feldspar thermoluminescence thermochronology, detrital zircon U-Pb chronology), and models and numerical simulation of tectonic geomorphology evolution. Because of the limited number of the articles, it was impossible for this column to comprehensively present the recent progresses in the study of tectonic geomorphology in China. Therefore, this paper first briefly reviewed the history of the development of tectonic geomorphology in China and the basic trend of tectonic geomorphology. The authors started the study of neotectonics and tectonic geomorphology in the Tian Shan range and its foreland basins about 15 years ago (exactly in 2002). The main aim of this paper was to explore the contributions of the interdisciplinary and new methods to the development of tectonic geomorphology study, by reviewing the main achievements in the tectonic geomorphology study conducted in the Tian Shan and its foreland basins during the past 20 years. These achievements include the history of uplift and exhumation during the Cenozoic times, the chronology and genesis of the late Cenozoic terrigenous sedimentary sequences in the foreland basins, the characteristics of the late Quaternary active tectonic deformation in the foreland and intermontane basins, the late Quaternary river geomorphology (geomorphic framework, chronology, and cause of formation), and erosion rates of the catchment basins. At the end of this paper, it was pointed out that, two aspects may need more attention in the future tectonic geomorphology study, i.e. the comparative study at different time scales and the better constraint of the formation age of river terrace.

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