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Temporal and spatial variation of catastrophic river floodings in the Lower Yellow River from AD 960 to 1938

Zhang, Xiangping, Fang, Xiuqi
databases, geographic information systems, rivers, Yellow River
This study is intended to investigate the patterns for the temporal and spatial changes of catastrophic river floodings which took place in the Lower Yellow River, based on the available records collected from historical documents, and rearranged in a GIS database. A series of catastrophic river floodings from AD 960 to 1938 was reconstructed, and their temporal and spatial variations were analyzed, which leads to the conclusions, among others. (1) The increasing trend of frequency of catastrophic river floodings in the Lower Yellow River is not so significant in the past 1000 years. (2) Most dike breachings and overtoppings occurred near the apex of the Yellow River Alluvial Fan, and the number of dike breaching and overtopping was gradually reduced as the elevation decreased. (3) Under different spatio-temporal backgrounds, dike breaching and overtopping developed either downstream or upstream, which is evidenced by both the downstream movement for large temporal and spatial scales in dike breaching and overtopping places in AD 1128–1344 and 1391–1447 and the upstream movement for small temporal and spatial scales in AD 960–969, 1730–1761, and 1807–1819.