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Growth of the Yellow River delta over the past 800 years, as influenced by human activities

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Based on measurements made over the past 50 years and data extracted from historical documents, a study has been made of the effect of human activities on the growth of the Yellow River delta over a time scale of 102-103 years. During the period studied, the Yellow River emptied into the Yellow Sea and Bohai Sea, successively, and the deltas it created are known as the Abandoned and Modern Yellow River deltas. The growth of the Abandoned Yellow River delta can be divided into two stages. The first extended from AD 1194 to 1578, during which the growth was rather slow. The second extended from AD 1579 to 1855, when the growth was greatly accelerated. The curve showing the temporal variation of the growth of the Modern Yellow River mouth can be fitted by three straight lines with different slopes. Accordingly, its growth from 1855 to present can be divided into three stages, and the inflection points associated with three straight lines may be regarded as threshold points, reflecting marked changes in the nature and extent of human activities. On this basis, a three-stage descriptive model has been proposed to describe the process of river mouth extension in response to changing human activities.

Keywords: Yellow River; delta; human impacts; river mouth extension

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

Publication date: 2003-03-01

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