Evolution Process of Granite Gorge Landforms

The evolution process of granite gorge landforms in the Geopark is generally divided into five stages: infancy, gulley, narrow gorge, gorge, and broad valley.

Infancy Stage

Due to orogenic activity of the Altay Mountains, the upper layer of granite rock masses in the area underwent erosion, leading to the exposure of granite rock masses. The initial formation of gorges here was influenced by early fluvial and subsequent glacial processes, with V-shaped gorges being predominant.

Gulley Stage

During the period of intense orogenic movement, the gorges experienced significantly more downward erosion than lateral erosion, resulting in the formation of deep and narrow gulleys. The slopes of these gulleys were nearly vertical. While there were riverbeds found at the base of the gulleys, no benchlands were present. Hence, the gulleys resemble ground fractures.

Narrow Gorge Stage

During the period of stable orogenic movement, the gulleys experienced continuous downward and lateral erosion. However, the synchronization between the rates of downward and lateral erosion resulted in the transformation of these gulleys into relatively broader yet still steep gorges. This particular gorge type is widely observed in popular tourist destinations.

Gorge State

As a result of continuous erosion, both downward and lateral, the narrow gorges gradually transformed into gorges characterized by their pronounced depth rather than width. These gorges now feature locally steep slopes and expansive flood plains along their riverbeds.

Broad valley Period

When the gorges experienced constant flowing water and lateral erosion, significant amounts of sand and gravel accumulated in their riverbeds. As a result of greater lateral erosion compared to downward erosion, coupled with collapses in the slopes of the gorges, they eventually transformed into broad valleys. These valleys have a width that is noticeably greater than their depth, marking the final stage of gorge evolution. They are characterized by the presence of broad river valley corridor landforms.

Schematic Diagram of Gorge Landform Evolution

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