Yunnan province is a zoological and botanical garden. It houses a lot of lakes and uncountable rivers, and deep mountain gorges as well as plateaus. And vast mineral resources are Yunnan's main source of wealth.
Both mountains and plateaus
The terrain is largely mountainous, especially in the north and west. A series of high mountain chains spread across the province. There is a distinct canyon region to the west and a plateau region to the east. Yunnan's major rivers flow through the deep valleys between the mountains.
Yunnan's terrain is largely mountainous: the Changsan mountains
Natural zoological and botanical garden
The eastern half of the province is a limestone plateau with karst scenery and unnavigable rivers flowing through deep mountain gorges. The western half is characterized by mountain ranges and rivers running north and south. These include the Nujiang (Thai: Salween) and the Lancangjiang (Thai: Mekong). The rugged, vertical terrain produces a wide range of flora and fauna, and the province has been called a natural zoological and botanical garden.
The average elevation is 1,980 m. The mountains are highest in the north where they reach more than 5,000 m; in the south of Yunnan, they rise no higher than 3,000 m. The highest point in the north is the Kawagebo Peak in Deqin County on the Diqing Plateau, which is about 6,740 meters high; and the lowest is in the Honghe River Valley in Hekou County, with an elevation of just 76.4 meters.
A main source of wealth lies in its vast mineral resources, and mining is the leading industry in Yunnan. Yunnan has proven deposits of 86 kinds of minerals in 2,700 places.
Some 13% of the proved deposits of minerals are the largest of their kind in China, and two-thirds of the deposits are among the largest of their kind in the Yangtze River valley and in south China. Yunnan ranks first in the country in deposits of zinc, lead, tin, cadmium, indium, thallium, and crocidolite. Other deposits include iron, coal, copper, gold, mercury, silver, antimony, and sulfur.
The potential value of the proven deposits in Yunnan is 3 trillion yuan.