Journal of Coastal Conservation

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 829–841 | Cite as

Morphological changes in the Qinzhou Bay, Southwest China

  • Dong Li
  • Cheng TangEmail author
  • Xiyong Hou
  • Hua ZhangEmail author


Morphological change in the Qinzhou Bay (QZB), southwest China, has been studied, using bathymetric charts and remote sensing data. Historical admiralty charts were digitized and analyzed in a Geographical Information System (GIS) environment to provide quantitative estimates of underwater topography changes for exploring the accretion-erosion characteristics from 1960s to 2010s. Multi-temporal satellite images have been used to analyze the coastline developments. The results showed that the bathymetry and coastline of QZB changed dramatically in recent decades. The subaqueous area decreased by about 8% in the study area during the last 50 years, mainly due to coastal land reclamation. The average growth rate of the coastlines was 2.07 km/yr. between 1978 and 2013 with natural curvy coastlines being replaced by straighter artificial shorelines. During the period from 1960s to 1990s, the evolution of QZB was mainly governed by natural factors with slight deposition or erosion in the deep troughs. From 1990s to 2010s, intensive large-scale human activities, such as port building, channel dredging and artificial island construction became the main causes affecting morphological changes in the QZB. Approximately half of the underwater terrain had undergone significant changes (greater than ±0.5 m), and the proportion of deposition area accounting for 32.26% of the subaqueous area, about twice more than erosion area. Large scale reclamation projects have made dramatic negative impact on coastal natural ecosystem. Integrated coastal zone management need to be carried out to maintain the balance between economic development and ecological health.


Morphological change Admiralty charts Coastline Land reclamation Qinzhou Bay 



This work was financially supported by grants from the National Key Basic Research Program of China (973) (No.2015CB453301), the Strategic Priority Research Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. XDA11020305), and the Key Deployment Project of Chinese Academy of Sciences (No. KZZD-EW-14).


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Coastal Zone Environmental Processes and Ecological Remediation, Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone ResearchChinese Academy of SciencesYantaiChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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