Multifractal theory provides an effective method for the scientific quantification of the river network features. This method has been applied to estimate river network structure in previous research, but there are few temporal and spatial analysis studied for large river basins based on multifractals. In this study, the Yellow River Basin and its nine provinces were selected as the study area, and the generalized fractal dimension and multifractal spectrum of the study area during the period 2000–2020 were calculated and analyzed. We analyzed the response relationship between the river network changes and the urbanization process. Results indicated that the river network of the study area exhibited obvious multifractal properties, which were mainly affected by dense river networks. The complexity of the studied river network has shown a tendency to decrease over time. The rate of change in the river network structure has a high positive correlation with urbanization, that is, the higher the rate of urbanization, the greater the impact on the river network structure. Additionally, the changes of the river network structure are more affected by urbanization during the rapid urbanization stage. We applied multifractal analysis to study the river network structure changes, which is of great significance for scientifically quantifying fluvial characteristics and studying the development and evolution of river networks.
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