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  The terrain of China’s mainland forms a flight of three steps in terms of altitude. Sichuan lies between the first step, namely Qinghai-Xizang Plateau and the second step, namely the Middle-lower Yangtze Plain. It is high in the west while low in the east, demonstrating a distinct disparity in terms of altitude. Plateaux and mountainous areas can be seen in west Sichuan with elevations of over 4,000 meters above sea level, while basins and hilly areas can be found in the east, with elevations of 1,000 to 3,000 meters above sea level. The whole province can be divided into three parts: the Sichuan Basin, Sichuan Northwest Plateau and Sichuan Southwest Mountains. Sichuan has a complex and varied topography with mountains and plateaus being the most outstanding feature. There are four geomorphic types, that is, mountainous areas, hilly areas, plains and plateaus, accounting for 77.1%, 12.9%, 5.3%, and 4.7% respectively of the gross area of Sichuan. Sichuan boasts rich soil types. There are 25 great soil groups, 66 subgroups, 137 soil genus and 380 soil species. The number of soil groups and subgroups take up 43.48% and 32.06% respectively of the national total.
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