The Changjiang River (the Yangtze River) originates from the "Roof of the World," the southwest side of the Geladandong Peak in the Tanggula Mountains of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The mainstream of the Yangtze River runs through central China from west to east, between 90°33'-122°25' east longitude and 24°30'-35°45' north latitude.
The Yangtze River is the mother river of the Chinese nation. Its mainstream flows through 11 provincial-level administrative regions, including Qinghai Province, Tibet Autonomous Region, Sichuan Province, Yunnan Province, Chongqing City, Hubei Province, Hunan Province, and Jiangxi Province, Anhui Province, Jiangsu Province, and Shanghai. It flows into the East China Sea at the east of Chongming Island.
Hundreds of tributaries converge from north to south China, extending to eight provinces: Guizhou, Gansu, Shaanxi, Henan, Guangxi, Guangdong, Zhejiang, Fujian, and parts of autonomous regions. You will learn more interesting facts about the Changjiang River in this post.
The Changjiang River Introduction
The formation of today's Yangtze River originated from the Yanshan Movement during the Jurassic period 140 million years ago. The Tanggula Mountains were formed in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, and the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau was slowly raised, forming many high mountains and deep valleys, depressions, and rifts. Thirty million years ago, the Himalayas were strongly uplifted, and the upper reaches of the Yangtze River were further elevated. Under topography, the Yangtze River began to flow eastward to the Sichuan Basin. The erosion accelerated through Wushan, making the ancient Yangtze River connect the east and west and merge with the Minjiang River and the Jinsha River in Sichuan to form the Yangtze River.
The source of the Yangtze River is a broad geographical unit, which includes a vast area between the Kunlun Mountains and the Tanggula Mountains. The source of the Yangtze River is composed of the Chuma'er River in the north, the Dam Qu River in the south, and the Tuotuo River. It is an amazing fact that it has over 700 tributaries. The tributary with the largest runoff is the Minjiang River. The tributary with the largest basin is the Jialing River. The tributaries with the longest length are the Hanjiang River and the Ya-lung River.
With a total length of 6,397 kilometers (3,975 miles), the Yangtze River is the longest river in Asia and the third-longest river globally, after the Nile River in Africa and the Amazon River in South America.
- The mainstream of the Yangtze River above Yichang is the upper reaches, with a length of 4,504 kilometers and a drainage area of 1 million square kilometers. The section from Zhimenda to Yibin is called Jinsha River, 3,364 kilometers long.
- The middle reaches 955 kilometers long, with a drainage area of 680,000 square kilometers.
- After the Hukou, it is downstream, 938 kilometers long, with a drainage area of 120,000 square kilometers.
The Yangtze River basin area is about 1.8 million square kilometers (694,983 square miles), accounting for about 1/5 of China's total land area. The Yangtze River has the largest water volume in China, with an annual average runoff of 961.6 billion cubic meters, accounting for about 36% of the country's total river runoff and 20 times that of the Yellow River.
Climate And Hydrology
The Yangtze River Basin has a warm climate and abundant rainfall. Due to its vast territory and large terrain changes, it has various climate types, and natural disasters such as floods, waterlogging, drought, and hail often occur. In the summer months in the Yangtze River basin, usually from May to August, precipitation is brought by the process of the advance and retreat of the monsoon and the confrontation of cold and warm currents.
The annual range of water-level fluctuations is considerable, an average of about 65 feet (20 meters), with 26 to 35 feet (8 to 11 meters) during low water years. Downstream from the Three Gorges Dam, the impact of the water-level variation is lessened by the dam and regulating effect of the lakes. During the seasonal rains, the Yangtze widely floods the lower areas, and the maximum volume of water entering the sea can be more than double the average flow.
According to incomplete statistics, there are 2 species of freshwater cetaceans, 424 species of fish, more than 1,200 species of phytoplankton, 753 species of zooplankton, and 1,008 species of benthic animals, and more than 1,000 species of aquatic higher plants in the Yangtze River Basin. At present, 119 aquatic organisms and inland wetland nature reserves have been established in the Yangtze River Basin, including 19 national-level nature reserves and 217 national-level aquatic germplasm resource reserves.
The Yangtze River is the most important river in China. It is the country's principal waterway, and its basin is a great granary in China and contains nearly one-third of the national population. There are more than 3,600 navigable rivers in the Yangtze River basin, accounting for 70% of the country's navigable mileage of inland rivers. Yangtze River Delta is the most prosperous and populous area in China. Nowadays, a cruise is the most popular way to tour the Yangtze River. The route between Chongqing and Yichang is the most popular one. The ship will also stop over at Three Gorges Dam, the world's largest hydropower station.