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Desert research in northwestern China. A brief review

Recherches consacrées aux déserts du nord-ouest de la Chine. Une brève revue
Xiaoping Yang
p. 275-284

Résumés

Les déserts sont largement représentés dans le nord-ouest de la Chine où on les trouve à des altitudes allant de -155 m à plus de 5 000 m dans des contextes géomorphologiques et tectoniques variés. Cet article dresse une brève revue de travaux récents sur la formation des déserts sableux du nord-ouest de la Chine et les changements qui les ont affectés. Les séquences de loess sur le Plateau de Loess attestent l’existence de déserts dans le nord-ouest de la Chine depuis au moins 22 millions d’années, mais d’autres données géomorphologiques et sédimentologiques suggèrent des âges beaucoup plus récents. Le lien entre les déserts du Tertiaire et les déserts actuels n’est en fait pas encore entièrement compris. Dans les déserts du nord-ouest de la Chine, des sédiments lacustres et fluviaux d’âge pléistocène, ou même holocène, sont enfouis sous les dunes en de nombreux endroits, ce qui montre que les secteurs dunaires ont connu de brusques changements environnementaux pendant le Quaternaire supérieur. D’autre part, les mécanismes à l’origine de la formation des méga-dunes du désert de Badain Jaran tels qu’ils sont présentés dans les diverses publications consacrées à ce sujet étant controversés (rôle des formes de relief par rapport à celui des eaux souterraines), des études géomorphologiques paraissent essentielles pour résoudre cette polémique. La géomorphologie pourrait constituer un apport crucial dans le développement des sciences du système Terre, les dunes des déserts sableux constituant des archives pouvant fournir des informations précieuses pour comprendre la dynamique du système terrestre.

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Notes de la rédaction

The author thanks the National Natural Science Foundation of China for financial support over the years (Grant No. : 40425011, 40671020). Sincere thanks are extended to professors J.-C. Thouret and A. Héquette for helpful comments and suggestions, in particular to Prof. Thouret who also kindly translated the parts of the manuscript required in French, and to Jufeng Dong for cartographical assistance.

Texte intégral

Introduction

1Physically and culturally diversified desert landscapes are extensive in the interior of Asia (e.g. Goudie, 2002). Generally speaking, deserts of China are distributed in a wide range of geomorphological and tectonic settings, from the Turpan Depression 155 m below sea level to the intramontane basins in the western Tibetan Plateau at elevations > 5000 m above sea level (asl.). In Chinese terminology (Zhu et al., 1980) the deserts are classified into sandy deserts (sand seas), sandy lands (mostly stabilized dunes) and Gobi (gravel deserts, fig. 1). Sandy deserts or sand seas occur mainly in three altitudinal zones in China. Here the lower zone of the aeolian landforms refers to the extensive sandy deserts and sandy lands located in northern China at elevations up to 2000 m asl., the second between 2800 m and 3200 m asl. in the Chaidamu Basin of northeastern Tibetan Plateau, and the third on the Tibetan Plateau from 3500 m to 4900 m asl. (Jäkel, 2002). The present-day morphology of these deserts is a residue of long and short-term variations due to interactions between authigenic and external forces within the Earth system. The water cycles crossing these sandy landforms impact greatly on regional water balance and on the availability of local surface and ground waters. These deserts may directly influence the global climate system through sediment cycles such as dust emissions. Therefore, greater knowledge of the evolution of desert landscapes would considerably increase our understanding of the Earth system. This paper was intended to briefly review recent progresses in the study of the geomorphology of desert dunes in northwestern China.

Fig. 1 – Distribution of desert landscapes in China, with the names of deserts mentioned in the text.
Fig. 1 – Répartition des déserts en Chine, incluant les noms des déserts mentionnés dans le texte.

Fig. 1 – Distribution of desert landscapes in China, with the names of deserts mentioned in the text. Fig. 1 – Répartition des déserts en Chine, incluant les noms des déserts mentionnés dans le texte.

1 : sandy deserts, 2 : sandy lands, 3 : Gobi, 4 : loess, 5 : mountains ; 6 : rivers, 7 : lakes.
1 : déserts ou mers de sable, 2 : régions ou terres sableuses, 3 : Gobi, 4 : loess, 5 : montagnes ; 6 : fleuves, 7 : lacs.

Ages of the sand seas in northwestern China

2The initial age of the sand seas in western China is related to answers to several crucial questions in Earth Sciences. Earlier numerical modeling showed that the high pressure over Mongolia-Siberia (causing winter monsoon in northern Asia) was formed due to the uplifting of the Tibetan Plateau (e.g. Manabe and Terpstra, 1974). Consequently, the initial age of the sand seas was supposed to be same as the age of a high Tibetan Plateau. Loess deposits in China are widely accepted to be of aeolian origin and from the deserts. As the chronology of loess has improved, the assumption of the initial age of the deserts is also revised. The recently influential studies of the Miocene loess-soil sequences in the western Loess Plateau suggested that deserts existed in the Asian interior at latest 22 Myr ago (Guo et al., 2002).

3In contrast, investigations carried out in the deserts of China showed a much younger age. Zhu et al. (1981) concluded that the Taklamakan Desert had been developed from the initial desert that was formed in middle Pleistocene. Taklamakan, as the largest desert in China, has drawn great attention from desert geomorphologists. There are four main opinions about its palaeogeography during the Quaternary.

4(1) A fresh water lake formed in the interior of the Taklamakan during the Quaternary (Norin, 1932) : this was based on observations of lacustrine sediments along the rivers flowing into the desert and on the western margin of the basin. Norin (1932) reported Quaternary erosion forms due to waves and residues of lacustrine sediments on the southern slope of the Mazhatage Mountains in the southwestern part of the Tarim Basin.

5(2) A great lake appeared in the Tarim Basin during the Early Pleistocene (A Russian expert named Shumef, originally written in Russian, cited from Zhu et al., 1981) : the lake level was supposed to be as high as 1250 m asl. and extended to the Turpan-Hami depression. The Lop Nuer was seen as the final residue of this formerly large lake. The dunes were thought to be formed along the old shorelines.

6(3) Alluvial and fluvial fans may exist : the sediments underlying the Taklamakan Desert were supposed to be of alluvial and fluvial origins. Alluvial fans and fluvial deltas were aggregated both in the south and in the north of the Taklamakan Desert during the Quaternary. The lake was restricted only in the area of Lop Nuer (Zhu et al., 1981).

7(4) The entire eastern Taklamakan Desert was assumed to be inundated by the large palaeo-lake Lop Nuer during the Pleistocene and its highest lake level would be ± 1000 m asl. (Jäkel, 1991).

8Obviously, quite young ages mostly on the basis of field investigations in the desert are not consistent with the results inferred from aeolian sequences in the Loess Plateau. This reconfirms the complexities and challenges a desert geomorphologist has to face. A key aspect would be the geomorphological link between the present-day deserts and the deserts inferred from early aeolian sediments. Have the deserts occurring 22 Myr ago continuously existed until today? The answer could be no if these dunes were once buried by lacustrine or fluvial sediments to a large extent. Detailed examinations of corings from the Taklamakan would provide clues for such a question. As the Quaternary sediments reach a thickness of over 1000 m in the Tarim Basin, it would be an expensive effort to obtain sediment cores with high resolution. Based on geomorphological and sedimentological evidence and radiocarbon chronology, Jäkel and Zhu (1991) reported that dunes in many places of the Taklamakan were even younger than 20 kyr.  

9Although it has been widely accepted that the formation of deserts in western China was due to uplifting of the Tibetan Plateau, other factors may have been decisive as well. It appeared that the formation of arid climate in central Asia may also be related to the ice volume in arctic regions, because a large extension of ice in the Arctic would cause the development of a strong high pressure in northern Asia, resulting in a strong influence of winter monsoon accompanied by arid conditions in the interior of Asia (Ruddiman and Kutzbach, 1989 ; Guo et al., 2004). The lithostratigraphic studies of Red-earth Formation in northern China showed that both the Tibetan uplifting and the arctic ice-building processes would have played important roles in the aridification in Asian interior during Late Miocene and Pliocene (Guo et al., 2004).

Records of climatic changes

10Much of the earlier concepts assumed a continuous intensification of dryness in the interior of Asia during the Quaternary (e.g. Berg, 1907). However, more recent studies of the river terraces along the Keriya River in the Taklamakan Desert showed that runoff and precipitation during the local peak of the last glaciation were much higher than at present (Yang et al., 2002). Furthermore, the availability of water was much larger than at present owing to the cold temperature and reduced evaporation at that time (Yang et al., 2002). Clear climatic variations during the last glaciation were recognized also in a sediment core from the Chaidamu Basin where the second altitudinal zone of aeolian landforms is located. The proxy data from this core suggested that the local climate was much drier during the period between 24 ka and 15 ka than between 32 ka and 24 ka (Hövermann and Süssenberger, 1986).

11The grain size changes of loess sections on desert margins were shown to be very useful for deducing variations in desert extent north of the Loess Plateau (Ding et al., 1999). The dunes of sandy lands in semi-arid regions of China were active during the colder epochs such as marine oxygen isotope stages two and four, and they should be stabilized by vegetation at warm times like today (Zhu and Liu, 1981). Little variations could be expected in the sand seas of western China while the arid climate was attributed to the uplifting of the Tibetan Plateau. However, studies in the dune fields and luminescene chronology revealed that both the stability of dunes and the extension of dune fields have undergone distinct variations in the Late Quaternary. Strongly cemented, laterite-coloured dunes were observed on the eastern margin of the Badain Jaran and they were dated to ca 57 – 51 ka by thermoluminescene dating (Yang, 2004). Similar aeolian sands underlying sandy loess on the eastern margin of the Badain Jaran were dated to ca 121 ka, showing that the extent of the dune fields were larger at those times than at present (Yang, 2004).

12With regard to desert geomorphology, distinguished work has been done in the Taklamakan Desert. Great attention was given both to the landforms and to personal experiences in the books written by earlier explorers (e.g. Hedin, 1899 ; 1904). Based on air photographs, topographical maps and fieldwork, Zhu et al. (1981) described the types of dunes and discussed the potential parameters controlling the characters of dunes in the Taklamakan. The publication of the relatively precise map of aeolian landforms in the Taklamakan (Zhu et al., 1980) represents some of the key achievements in desert research in China. Landforms, sedimentological features such as grain sizes and heavy mineral assemblages and microstructures on the quartz grains of sands in the Taklamakan have been investigated by various authors (e.g. Zhu et al., 1981 ; Besler, 1991 ; Coque and Gentelle, 1991 ; Yang, 1991). The geomorphological and sedimentological records of climatic changes have become important objectives of more recent studies in deserts. The alluvial landforms in the southern of the Tarim Basin were associated with water flows during different stages of the last glaciation (Hövermann and Hövermann, 1991). A chronology of aeolian and lacustrine deposits from the centre and southern margin of the Taklamakan was established using optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating methods (Yang et al., 2006a). According to these new datings, lakes were formed in the centre of the Taklamakan at around 2000 and 30,000 years ago. Another period of lacustrine environment occurred between 40,000 and 30,000 years ago. It was suggested that the climate was much wetter than at present while lakes occupied the central part of the desert (Yang et al., 2006a). In contrast, the development of large migrating dune fields was the predominant geomorphological process during periods of more arid conditions. Sand wedges at the southern margin of the Taklamakan were firstly reported by Hövermann and Hövermann (1991) and were later dated to ca 40,000 and ca 18,000 years ago using OSL (Yang et al., 2006a), indicating a temperature decrease of more than 12°C when compared to present conditions. According to lacustrine records (Rhodes et al., 1996), wetter conditions also prevailed in the Zhungar Basin between 37 ka and 32 ka, confirming a quite large geographical extension of wetter climate at that time.

13The centre of the Taklamakan is probably one of the most suitable places to demonstrate the strong interactions between aeolian, fluvial and lacustrine processes on the Earth surface. Dome-shaped dunes are distributed in the delta of the Keriya River. The dunes in this delta reach a height of 30 m and are surrounded by old river courses (fig. 2). Sand samples taken from windward sides are dated to only a few hundreds years, indicating a relatively young age of the dunes (Yang et al., 2006a). The grain size characters also show that the Taklamakan Desert is still in an early stage of development (Besler, 1991).

Fig. 2 – Dunes surrounded by river courses in the centre of the Taklamakan desert.
Fig. 2 – Dunes entourées de cours d’eau dans le centre du désert du Taklamakan.

Fig. 2 – Dunes surrounded by river courses in the centre of the Taklamakan desert.Fig. 2 – Dunes entourées de cours d’eau dans le centre du désert du Taklamakan.

14The abovementioned studies should have made it clear that not only the aeolian processes but also the fluvial processes have changed considerably in the Taklamakan during the Late Quaternary. The hydrological systems have also undergone abrupt changes in the Taklamakan accordingly. At present the Niya River is quite short and becomes extinct in the south of the Taklamakan. Based on satellite imageries, it was found that the Niya River flowed into the Keriya River in the past (Yang et al., 2006b). Fluvial forms and sediments indicate that the Keriya River was flowing into the Tarim River on the northern margin of the desert during the late last glacial, and at about 2000 years ago as well as during the Little Ice Age (Yang et al., 2002). Historical maps and literature show that the Lop Nuer was a large lake in the Han Dynasty (206 BC to AD 220) and became a much smaller one in the Qing Dynasty (AD 1644 – 1911). Archaeological excavations confirmed that irrigated agriculture was widely practised from ca 200 BC to ca AD 500 in the lower reaches of the Keriya and Niya rivers and in many other parts of the interior of the Taklamakan (Yang et al., 2006b), consistent with geomorphological records (Yang et al., 2002). Both the human activity and natural environmental changes have played a role in the variations of the extension of the oases during historical times (e.g. Zhu and Liu, 1981 ; Wang, 1998 ; Yang, 1998 ; Mu and Liu, 2000).

Interpretation of megadunes

15The dunes with a maximum height of ca 460 m in the Badain Jaran Desert are not only the highest in all Chinese deserts but also globally. They are higher than all dunes so far discovered in other planets (e.g. Zimbelman, 2000 ; Lorenz et al., 2006). Based on field observations, two factors were suggested to be crucial to the formation of these megadunes : a) overlapping of dunes formed during various periods associated with climate fluctuations ; b) underlying bedrock landforms (Yang, 1991). The argument of the influence from bedrock landforms is from the observations done in the dune areas. On the slope of a 280 m high dune in the southeastern Badain Jaran an outcrop of granite is visible at ca 50 m above the basis of the dune, evidencing the important contribution of the bedrock to the height of this dune (fig. 3). The different colors of the sand on the windward side of a megadune, accompanied by various densities of plants, indicate that a megadune is somehow an aggregation of various dunes having formed at different epochs (Yang, 1991). The layers of calcareous cementations on the dunes in the Badain Jaran Desert (fig. 3) were probably of pedogenic origins and formed under higher soil moisture (Yang et al., 2003). On the surface of older dunes there are often plenty of small calcareous tubes (length : 2–20 cm, diameter : 0.5–3 cm) having formed due to accumulation of carbonate around the plant roots. Such roots are indicative of an increase in precipitation and higher plant coverage. The surface of the dunes could be more or less stabilized due to calcareous consolidation and an increase in plant coverage. The calcareous cementations are nowadays only preserved occasionally because the cement of calcium carbonate is vulnerable to dissolution. The outcrops of these cementations appear sometimes like small cliffs (fig. 3) on the slopes of dunes while the underlying sands are eroded by winds.

Fig. 3 – A schematic cross-profile of the landscape around the lakes in the SE of the Badain Jaran Desert.
Fig. 3 – Coupe schématique du paysage autour des lacs dans le SE du désert de Badain Jaran.

Fig. 3 – A schematic cross-profile of the landscape around the lakes in the SE of the Badain Jaran Desert. Fig. 3 – Coupe schématique du paysage autour des lacs dans le SE du désert de Badain Jaran.

1 : present-day shifting sands ; 2 : palaeo-dunes ; 3 : outcrop of bedrock granite ; 4 : layer of calcareous cementations ; I : zone of active and semi-active dunes ; II : consolidated and semi-consolidated dunes ; III : sand heaps covered by shrubs ; IV : salty grasses ; V : swamp grasses ; VI : water surface.
1 : sables migrant actuellement ; 2 : paléo-dunes ; 3 : substratum granitique affleurant ; 4 : couche d’encroûtements calcaires ; I : zone de dunes actives ou partiellement actives ; II : dunes consolidées ou partiellement consolidées ; III : monticules de sable couverts par des buissons ; IV : Végétation halophile ; V : végétation de marécage ; VI : eau en surface.

16The ages of the calcareous tubes could be consistent with the age of an old, relatively stable, dune surface formed under higher humidity. The radiocarbon ages of these tubes suggest a roughly 10 ka-scale periodic appearance of a more humid climate in the Badain Jaran Desert (Yang, 2001). However, dating of such calcareous tubes is quite challenging because the results using different methods are often far apart. The analysis of uranium – thorium isotopes showed that the oldest age of the tubes was 207,000 ± 10,000 years (Yang, 1991). However, the oldest radiocarbon age of the cemented tubes from the same area is only 31,750 ± 485 years (Yang, 2001). In fact, the inorganic carbon in the tubes might come from two different sources. One is from the solution of old carbonate in sediments, the other is from the atmosphere through carbon sequestration. Little organic carbon is preserved in the dune stratigraphy owing to the processes of dissolutions. Therefore the lack of organic materials in the dune stratigraphy is not contradictory to the idea that the dunes have been more or less stabilized by vegetation during wetter periods in the past.

17Another peculiar character of the Badain Jaran Desert is the occurrence of many permanent lakes in the inter-dune basins (figs. 3 and 4). The salinity and chemistry of these lakes vary considerably : some of them contain fresh water while others are filled with brine. However, the shallow groundwater from all lake basins is fresh. The relatively high concentration of tritium in the shallow groundwater indicates a young age of the water, mostly younger than 100 years. The deep groundwater is probably of old age due to very low content of tritium (Yang and Williams, 2003). Based on the relatively young ages, it was concluded that the shallow groundwater in the Badain Jaran Desert is from local precipitation. The higher shorelines in the lake basins were seen as evidence of wetter epochs characterized by much more rainfalls (Yang and Williams, 2003). The fluctuations of local climate were suggested to be the key factor having caused the changes of lake level not only in the interior of the desert (Yang and Williams, 2003) but also in desert margins in the southeast (Yang, 2006). It is, however, not clear whether the deep groundwater has played a role in the recharge of the desert lakes.

18A new and quite interesting explanation for the formation of the megadunes is that groundwater could maintain the dunes. It was suggested that underground rivers were flowing from the mountains of northeastern Tibetan Plateau to the Badain Jaran Desert. In 20 to 30 years, the water could flow from the mountains to the desert lakes. The water was believed to flow even up to the ridges of the dunes and to have kept the sands stable on the dune (Chen et al., 2004). The weak point of this hypothesis is that the water would flow downwards before reaching the ridges of the dunes, as the water in the dunes is stored like in an open system. But the explanation with bedrock morphology is not sufficiently convincing, either, because most of the dunes are completely covered by aeolian sands (fig. 4) and the materials beneath the sands are not thoroughly investigated. In fact, it is not clear whether there are any high bedrock outcrops or fluvial sediments under most of the sand dunes. Application of high resolution seismological techniques would be needed for trying to find answers to these questions.

Fig. 4 – An eight-meter deep lake with an area of one km2 in the Badain Jaran Desert, ca 300 m-high dunes in the back.
Fig. 4 – Un lac de 8 m de profondeur et d’une superficie de 1 km2 dans le désert de Badain Jaran. Les dunes à l’arrière plan ont une hauteur d’environ 300 m.

Fig. 4 – An eight-meter deep lake with an area of one km2 in the Badain Jaran Desert, ca 300 m-high dunes in the back.Fig. 4 – Un lac de 8 m de profondeur et d’une superficie de 1 km2 dans le désert de Badain Jaran. Les dunes à l’arrière plan ont une hauteur d’environ 300 m.

19Theoretically, environmental isotopes would provide clues to the origin of waters in the desert region. But the results of measurements reported by various authors (e.g. Geyh et al., 1996 ; Yang and Williams, 2003 ; Chen et al., 2004 ; Yang, 2006) are not fully consistent with each other, leading to different explanations of water sources. Geyh et al. (1996) pointed out that the groundwater in the western margins of Badain Jaran Desert is recharged locally because its isotope data (δ18O, δ2H, 14C) are clearly distinct from the Heihe River whose headwater is in the Tibetan Plateau. The spatial difference in the ion chemistries, tritium contents and δ18O in the samples taken from various localities also suggests that the shallow groundwaters in the areas around the lakes in the Badain Jaran Desert (Yang and Williams, 2003) and in the eastern margins of this desert (Yang, 2006) are mainly recharged by infiltration of local rainfall, consistent with the interpretation of water ages (Yang and Williams, 2003). However, also based on the δ18O and δ2H compositions, Chen et al. (2004) argued that the water underneath the desert is sourced from the northeastern Tibetan Plateau. A new effort would be needed to resample all the waters in order to reexamine the values of the environmental isotopes. Probably a longtime monitoring of the waters would be helpful to understanding the water sources and the relationship between landforms and hydrological features in the sand sea.

Prospects

20Although the basic aspects such as distribution of deserts and types of dunes in China are well understood (e.g. Zhu et al., 1980) and it is now accepted that the dune landscapes undergo changes in response to climatic fluctuations, many fundamental questions relating desert geomorphology in northwestern China are still waiting for answers. For example, the time of initial formation of present-day deserts in western China is not clear. The triggering factors for the initiation of a dry climate are still debatable. Is this related to the uplifting of Tibetan Plateau, to an increase in ice volume in the arctic regions or to other potential factors? Variations in the sediment sequences of the dunes should reflect the climate changes. However, are these local, regional or global signals? Much more synthesis work is therefore badly needed in order to find and to interpret geomorphological records in the deserts. The appearance of controversial explanations on the formation of the megadunes in the Badain Jaran Desert reconfirms the importance of geomorphology in understanding Earth surface processes. Just as Richthofen (1886) already pointed out, the forms and features of earth surface build the basis for all other geographical knowledge. Geomorphology was the most important discipline in Richthofen’s initial concept of Earth system sciences. The abovementioned studies in various deserts of China have demonstrated that there is much to explore in the dunes for understanding the Earth System because of their strong sensitivity to various processes including aeolian, fluvial and lacustrine ones.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1 – Distribution of desert landscapes in China, with the names of deserts mentioned in the text. Fig. 1 – Répartition des déserts en Chine, incluant les noms des déserts mentionnés dans le texte.
Légende 1 : sandy deserts, 2 : sandy lands, 3 : Gobi, 4 : loess, 5 : mountains ; 6 : rivers, 7 : lakes. 1 : déserts ou mers de sable, 2 : régions ou terres sableuses, 3 : Gobi, 4 : loess, 5 : montagnes ; 6 : fleuves, 7 : lacs.
URL http://geomorphologie.revues.org/docannexe/image/79/img-1.png
Fichier image/png, 228k
Titre Fig. 2 – Dunes surrounded by river courses in the centre of the Taklamakan desert.Fig. 2 – Dunes entourées de cours d’eau dans le centre du désert du Taklamakan.
URL http://geomorphologie.revues.org/docannexe/image/79/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 390k
Titre Fig. 3 – A schematic cross-profile of the landscape around the lakes in the SE of the Badain Jaran Desert. Fig. 3 – Coupe schématique du paysage autour des lacs dans le SE du désert de Badain Jaran.
Légende 1 : present-day shifting sands ; 2 : palaeo-dunes ; 3 : outcrop of bedrock granite ; 4 : layer of calcareous cementations ; I : zone of active and semi-active dunes ; II : consolidated and semi-consolidated dunes ; III : sand heaps covered by shrubs ; IV : salty grasses ; V : swamp grasses ; VI : water surface.1 : sables migrant actuellement ; 2 : paléo-dunes ; 3 : substratum granitique affleurant ; 4 : couche d’encroûtements calcaires ; I : zone de dunes actives ou partiellement actives ; II : dunes consolidées ou partiellement consolidées ; III : monticules de sable couverts par des buissons ; IV : Végétation halophile ; V : végétation de marécage ; VI : eau en surface.
URL http://geomorphologie.revues.org/docannexe/image/79/img-3.png
Fichier image/png, 23k
Titre Fig. 4 – An eight-meter deep lake with an area of one km2 in the Badain Jaran Desert, ca 300 m-high dunes in the back.Fig. 4 – Un lac de 8 m de profondeur et d’une superficie de 1 km2 dans le désert de Badain Jaran. Les dunes à l’arrière plan ont une hauteur d’environ 300 m.
URL http://geomorphologie.revues.org/docannexe/image/79/img-4.png
Fichier image/png, 411k
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Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Xiaoping Yang, « Desert research in northwestern China. A brief review », Géomorphologie : relief, processus, environnement, vol. 12 - n° 4 | 2006, 275-284.

Référence électronique

Xiaoping Yang, « Desert research in northwestern China. A brief review », Géomorphologie : relief, processus, environnement [En ligne], vol. 12 - n° 4 | 2006, mis en ligne le 01 janvier 2009, consulté le 22 août 2017. URL : http://geomorphologie.revues.org/79 ; DOI : 10.4000/geomorphologie.79

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