Research Articles

Coastal evolution of Yancheng, northern Jiangsu, China since the mid-Holocene based on the Landsat MSS imagery

  • 1. College of Harbor, Coastal and Offshore Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China;
    2. Department of Coastal Ocean Science, School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China;
    3. The Key Laboratory of Coastal and Island Development, Ministry of Education, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210093, China;
    4. Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA;
    5. College of Hydrology and Water Resources, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China;
    6. College of Earth Sciences and Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
Kang Yanyan, Ph.D. Candidate, specialized in GIS and RS applications to coastal ocean science. E-mail:

Received date: 2013-03-10

  Revised date: 2013-04-10

  Online published: 2013-10-15

Supported by

National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program), No.2010CB429001; Comprehensive Investigation and Assessment in Jiangsu Offshore Area, No.JS-908-01-02; National Key Technologies Research and Development Program of China, No.2012BAB03B00; Special Fund for Marine Scientific Research in the Public Interest, No.201005006-3; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.51179067; Graduate Student Research and Innovation Project of Jiangsu General Higher Learning Institution, No.CXLX12_0256; Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province, No.BK2012414


Since the 1970s, remote sensing images have provided new information for the delineation and analysis of coastline changes, especially focusing on the short timescale changes. This paper, based on the Landsat MSS imagery, focuses on the coastline evolution of Yancheng, northern Jiangsu, China since the mid-Holocene. A zebra stripe image, which could reveal the ancient coastal evolution of Yancheng, was extracted from a Landsat MSS image. Based on the extracted black-white stripes, 19 surface sediment samples were recovered and analyzed to recognize the sedimentary characteristics of these stripes. It shows that most sand and silty sand samples appear on the white stripes, while silt and silty clay samples are on the black stripes. Sandy and muddy sediments present an alternating distribution pattern on the Yancheng coastal plain. A historical coastline map was drawn according to the previous research achievements of the paleo-coastal sand barriers and paleo-coastlines, and was superimposed on the zebra stripe image. The trend of the extracted zebra stripes is consistent with the historical coastlines, and it should be the symbol of the Yancheng coastline evolution. On the basis of ten sets of black-white stripes and previous research results, we divided the progression of Yancheng coastal evolution into three stages (i.e., the early stable stage (6500 a BP-AD 1128), the rapid deposition stage (AD 1128-1855) and the adjustment stage (AD 1855-present)). Ten sets of black-white stripes were identified as the characteristic pattern of the coastline evolution on the Yancheng coastal plain.

Cite this article

KANG Yanyan, XIA Fei, DING Xianrong, ZHANG Changkuan, CHENG Ligang, GE Xiaoping, Jennifer GLASS . Coastal evolution of Yancheng, northern Jiangsu, China since the mid-Holocene based on the Landsat MSS imagery[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2013 , 23(5) : 915 -931 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-013-1052-4


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