Location and Area
Huaihua, the largest prefecture-level city in terms of area in Hunan Province, is located in the southwest of Hunan Province, between the Wuling Mountains and the Xuefeng Mountains (25°52′22″～29°01′25″ north latitude, 108°47′13″～111°06′30″ east longitude), covering 353km from north to south and 229km from east to west. Geographically, Huaihua borders Guilin City and Liuzhou City of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in the south, Tongren City and Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture of Guizhou Province in the west. Within Hunan Province, Huaihua borders Shaoyang City, Loudi City, Yiyang City, Changde City, Zhangjiajie City, and Xiangxi Miao and Tujia Autonomous Prefecture. Huaihua has been known as the “gateway to Guizhou and Yunnan” and a “key point of the land of Chu”. Today, Haihua is a “bridgehead” of the passage from the east and central regions to the southwest.
Geology and Landforms
Huaihua City is located in the transitional zone between the Upper Yangtze block and the Nanhua rift trough. The strata in the area are well developed and exposed, with frequent tectonic movements and magmatic activities. Sedimentary facies and structures are complete from the Sinian period to the Cenozoic period. The pre-Sinian strata were strongly folded and dominated by fault structures. A series of northeast deep faults and fault structures dominated by large faults were formed in the city. Huaihua is rich in mineral resources and is an important energy, metal and non-metal mineral base in western Hunan Province.
There are overlapping hills, undulating peaks, and complex terrains within Huaihua City. The contour of the landforms slopes from southwest to north, forming a long and narrow area. In the southeast, the Xuefeng Mountains approach Huaihua in an arc; in the northwest, lie the stretching Wuling Mountains; in the middle, hills are undulating, forming several basins. The highest point of the terrain is Subaoding, the main peak of the Xuefeng Mountains, at an elevation of 1934 meters; the lowest point is Jieshou of Yuanling, only 45 meters above sea level. The east and west sides of Huaihua are high and steep, whereas the south side is protruding towards the middle and the north, making the overall landform of Huaihua look like a dustpan with an opening to the northeast.
The Wuling Mountains stretch in a north-east direction, with steep north-west slopes and gentle south-east slopes. The north-eastern and south-eastern foothills of the mountain range extend for about 104 kilometers in the area, and the ridges are basically in the same direction as the structural line.
The Xuefeng Mountains are distributed in a north-east direction, with steep slopes in the southeast and gentle slopes in the northwest.
Mountains account for 70.5% of the whole area of Huaihua while hills, hilly lands, plains, mountain plains, and waters account for 17.9%, 4.1%, 4.2%, 0.6%, and 2.7%, respectively. The whole area is said be composed by “70% of mountainous lands, 20% of hilly lands, and 10% of plains plus waters”. In Huaihua, there are 1,149 main peaks above 800 meters above sea level, including 663 peaks above 1,000 meters. The east and west are dominated by low mountains and medium mountains; the south is mostly medium and low mountains; the north is dominated by low mountains, middle and low mountains; and the middle is mainly composed of low mountains, hills and plains.
(Translated by Le Guobin)