The Tibetan Plateau is a unique geomorphic unit composed of some basic geomorphic types, such as extreme high mountains,high mountains, hills, plains, and tablelands of high altitude or sub-high altitude. Different opinions for the exact scope of Tibetan Plateau exist. According to latest research achievement and the long time fieldwork, questions related to the area and boundary of the Plateau have been discussed in view of geography, and the principles taking geomorphic characters as the main rule and considering the integrity have been made to define the boundary. The 1∶1 000 000 geomorphological map was compiled based on 1∶100 000 aerial photographic map,1∶500 000 topographic map and interpretation of satellite images. By refering to the 1∶3 000 000 relief map, the boundary of the Plateau was delineated.The position of the boundary was quantitatively determined with GIS and GPS.The map of electronic version of the Tibetan Plateau was compiled. The main conclusion is that Tibetan Plateau starts from the southern edge of the Himalayan Range, abuts on India,Nepal and Bhutan,connects the northern edge of Kunlun, Altun and Qilian Mts., and joins Tarim Basin and Hexi Corridor in Central Asia.The west of it is the Pamirs and Karakorum Mts., bordering on Kirghizistan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kashmir. The east of it is Yulongxueshan, Daxueshan, Jiajinshan and Qionglaishan Mts.as well as south or east piedmont of Minshan Mts. Tibetan Plateau joins the Qinling Mts.and Loess Plateau with its eastern and northeastern part. Tibetan Plateau in China's territory starts from the Pamirs in the west and reaches to Hengduanshan in the east. It bestrides a longitude of 31 degrees with a length of 2 945 km from east to west,and bestrides a latitude of 13 degrees with a length of 1 532 km from south to north. It ranges from 26°00′12" N to 39°46′50" N and from 73°18′52"E to 104°46′59"E, covering an area of 2 572.4×10 3 km 2. Administratively, it embraces 201 counties (cities) in 6 provinces, namely, the Tibet Autonomous Region (73 counties/cities,1 176.0×10 3 km 2, part of Cona, Mêdog and Zayü), the Qinghai Province(40 counties/cities,721.0×10 3 km 2, some counties only partially), Dêqen Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Northwest Yunnan Province(9 counties/cities,33.5×10 3 km 2), West Sichuan Province ( 46 counties/cities about 254.0×10 3 km 2 ,such as Garze Autonomous Prefecture, Aba Tibetan and Qiangzu Autonomous Prefecture,and Muli Autonomous County, etc.),Gansu Province(21 counties/cities, 74.9×10 3 km 2), and Southern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (about 12 counties/cities, 313.0×10 3 km 2).
张镱锂, 李炳元, 郑度. 论青藏高原范围与面积[J]. 地理研究, 2002, 21(1): 1-8.
ZHANG Yi-li, LI Bing-yuan, ZHENG Du. A discussion on the boundary and area of the Tibetan Plateau in China. GEOGRAPHICAL RESEARCH, 2002, 21(1): 1-8.