Planation surfaces in China: one hundred years of investigation
By introduction of the erosional cycle theory of W. M. Davis, Bailey Willis, an American geologist, began pioneering work on planation surfaces in northern China between 1903 and 1904. He identified two surfaces. Subsequently, the study of planation surfaces in northern China was continued by both Western and Chinese scientists, and this stimulated similar research in other parts of China. However, in the 1930s and 1940s the study of planation surfaces all but stopped because of the Japanese invasion of China, the civil war that followed, and again during the period of the ‘Cultural Revolution’ between 1966 and 1976. In the early 1960s the cycle theory proposed by Davis was much criticized, and with it the concept of the planation surface. However, from the 1980s, after careful re-examination of former criticisms, geomorphologists realized that the early concepts did have value and began to restudy planation surfaces over the whole of China. The most interesting research has been on planation surfaces preserved in the area of the Tibetan Plateau, which relates to uplift of the plateau and its impact on the environment.