In the vast western reaches of China - mountains, high plateaus and deserts dominate the landscape, while in the central and east areas, the land slopes into broad plains and deltas.
The Himalayas, the world's most elevated mountain range, form its southwestern borders with India
, and contain the highest peaks in the world.
Located within the Himalayas is China's highest point, the famed Mt. Everest, which is also the tallest mountain in the world,
and whose summit reaches 29,025 ft. (8.850 m).
Numerous rivers arise in the Himalayas, including the Indus and Brahmaputra rivers.
In the far northeast, high mountains ring China's border with the Russian Federation
The Gobi Desert runs west to east along the border with Mongolia
. Here the topography varies from sand desert, into the low mountain foothills and plateaus that stretch into Mongolia.
Prolonged drought in the area result in debilitating dust storms, and have caused China to lose a million acres a year to desertification.
China's lowest point, and the third lowest point on the Earth's surface, is the arid Turpan Depression located in the far western part of the country.
From the higher elevations in the west literally thousands of rivers drain the country; the most significant include the Yangtze (third longest river on the planet), and the Heilong (Amur), Mekong, Pearl and Yellow.