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The plain has an area of about 135,000 square miles (350,000 square km).Its basic landscapes are forest-steppe, steppe, meadow-steppe, and cultivated land; its soils are rich and black, and it is a famous agricultural region.Southeastern China is bordered by a rocky shoreline backed by picturesque mountains.In general, there is a distinct structural and topographic trend from northeast to southwest.Wanda mountains, which in Chinese are collectively known as the Changbai Shan, or “Forever White Mountains”; broken by occasional open valleys, they reach elevations mostly between 1,500 and 3,000 feet (450 and 900 metres).
Comparable in size to the Northeast Plain, most of the North China Plain lies at elevations below 160 feet (50 metres), and the relief is monotonously flat.
Faults have played a major role in creating the present relief, and, as a result, many hills are horsts (blocks of the Earth’s crust uplifted along faults), while the valleys have been formed by grabens (blocks of the Earth’s crust that have been thrust down along faults).
The Jiaolai Plain divides this region into two parts.
In particularly low and flat areas, the underground water table often fluctuates from 5 to 6.5 feet (1.5 to 2 metres), forming meadow swamps and, in some places, resulting in saline soils.
A densely populated area that has long been under settlement, the North China Plain has the highest proportion of land under cultivation of any region in China.The Qin Mountains consist of a series of parallel ridges, all running roughly west-east, separated by a maze of ramifying valleys whose canyon walls often rise sheer to a height of 1,000 feet (300 metres) above the valley streams.