Basin and range are the basic geomorphic forms of the earth, which are widely distributed on the land and essential parts of the gorgeous submarine topography. Basin and range evolution mechanisms have always been the forefront research topic of geology, geography, geophysics, and other geosciences that involve a wide range of fields such as tectonics (Li et al. 2013), magmatism (Wang et al. 2003), geomagnetic evolution (Sun et al. 2019), and rock weathering (Cui et al. 2019). Basin-range pattern has an obvious scale effect. The formation mechanisms of basin-range patterns within different spatial scales are often quite different. Large-scale basin-mountain systems are usually controlled by global-scale tectonic movements, among which Tibetan-Ganges Plateau-Basin system is a typical example (Powell et al. 1973; Zhou et al. 2005). On the medium scale, basins are mostly the results of local tectonic subsidence. For example, the Dongting Lake Basin, which is located in south-central China, was formed after multistage intraplate tectonic movements (Pi et al. 2001). From a small-scale point of view, the formation of basins and ranges is related to both tectonic movements and the differences of the adjacent rocks’ resistance to weathering (Cui et al. 2007).
China is one of the countries with the most extensive distribution of granite masses in the world, with a total area of 909,000 km2, of which about 60% are distributed in southern China. Granites with different ages, genesis, and lithology types different geomorphic forms in different climatic zones, altitudes, and different areas of exogenous force.
Based on morphological laws, some scholars have systematically summarized the main geomorphic features and types of granite (Twidale 1982; Twidale et al. 2005). They have divided the main granite landforms into boulders, inselbergs, slopes, topology, and plains, and considered boulders as the primary geomorphic manifestation of granite. In China, as early as the 1960s, Zeng (Zeng. 1960) divided the granite landforms into five types according to China’s granite characteristics, which are alpine granite terrain, tropical granite terrain, dry area granite terrain, egg terrain, and gully terrain respectively. Later, Cui et al. (2007) divided the granite landform into four categories from the perspective of weathering and erosion in the formation process of granite landforms. Geomorphic system results from the interaction of internal and external forces on the surface (Yang et al. 2012), and the landform in granite area is also affected by three main factors, namely lithology, tectonic movement and climate.
Up until now, scholars have done many researches on the geomorphology and formation mechanisms of granite areas and have obtained numerous results. Among those studies, most are carried out from the perspective of morphology, mainly focusing on micro-topography, while little attention is paid to the macro scale basin-range characteristics of granite. For a single rock mass, if there is no obvious influence of tectonic uplift or subsidence, the basin-range pattern is mainly determined by the difference of resistance to weathering between the rock mass and its surrounding rock. Anti-weathering characteristics of different lithologies often vary with diverse climate backgrounds. Under certain circumstances, the characteristics may have completely opposite results. (Cui et al. 2007).
Granite bodies are widely distributed in South China, with variable surrounding rocks and structural characteristics that cause complex basin-range patterns. Understandings on the basin-range formation mechanisms vary. (Li 2008).
In order to deepen the understanding of basin-range formation mechanisms of granite bodies, statistics on the basin-range patterns of the 44 granite bodies in the Hunan Province, where the spatial distributions of granite are relatively simple, were carried out based on the digital elevation data (DEM) and the previous geological survey results. Then, the mechanism of spatial basin-range pattern was revealed based on the combined analysis of tectonic movement and mineral composition.