Physical features of South Asia(focus on India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal)
•South Asia is a land of physical diversity.
•South Asia is a physically well defined realm with the Himalayan mountains
to the north, the Karakoam and Hindu Kush mountains to the northwest
deserts to the west, and dense forest and hills along the Burmese
(Myanmar) border to the east. South Asia spans a large area and
contains great physical variety.
Himalayan Mountains in the north & Indian Ocean in the south have been separated to form a big landmass.
•Myanmar & Bangladesh in the east
•Pakistan in the north-west, Sri Lanka
•Pakistan covers an area of 796,095 sq km lying between latitude 24 degree and 37 degree North and longitude 62 degree and 75 degree East. The country borders Iran on the west, India in the east, Afghanistan in the north and north-west and the People's Republic of China in the north-west to north-east.
Pakistan is a land of many splendours. The scenery changes northward from coastal beaches, lagoons and mangrove swamps in the south to sandy deserts, desolate plateaus, fertile plains, and dissected upland in the middle and high mountains with beautiful valleys, snow-covered peaks and eternal glaciers in the north. The variety of landscape divides Pakistan into six major regions: the North High Mountainous Region, the Western Low Mountainous Region, the Balochistan Plateau, the Potohar Upland, the Punjab and the Sindh Plains.
•The physical features of Pakistan are divided into five main land regions:
1. The Northern and Western Highlands
2. The Punjab Plain
3. The Sind Plain
4. The Baluchistan Plateau
5. The Thar Desert
•Pakistan has an area of about 307,374 square kilometers.
The Northern and Western Highlands:
These mountains cover much of the area of northwestern Pakistan.
•The world's second highest peak is K2 (Mount Godvin Austin). It is about 28,250 feet (8,611 meters) above sea level. It is located in Kashmir and it is controlled by Pakistan.
•The most famous mountain pass is Khyber Pass which is a link between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Punjab and Sind Plains:
•These regions occupy most of the eastern part of the country. These regions are land growths of soil deposited by rivers.
•The North Punjab is watered by the Indus River. The water of Chenab, Jhelum, Ravi and Sutlej Rivers join the Indus River in east central Pakistan. The meeting point of south broadened Indus flows to the Arabian sea through the Sind Plain.
•The irrigation systems have made Punjab and Sind Plains into agricultural regions.
•This is located in the southwestern part of Pakistan. The plateau is dry and rocky, it has little plant life.
It is located in southeastern Pakistan. Pakistan extends into northwestern India. The irrigation projects have made parts of the desert near the Indus River suitable for farming.
The physiography of Bangladesh is varied and has an area characterized by two distinctive features: a broad deltaicplain subject to frequent flooding, and a small hilly region crossed by swiftly flowing rivers.
•Roughly 80 % of the landmass is made up of fertile alluvial lowland called the Bangladesh Plain. The plain is part of the larger Plain of Bengal, which is sometimes called the Lower Gangetic Plain. Although altitudes up to 105 meters above sea level occur in the northern part of the plain, most elevations are less than 10 meters above sea level; elevations decrease in the coastal south, where the terrain is generally at sea level. With such low elevations and numerous rivers, water--and concomitant flooding--is a predominant physical feature. About 10,000 square kilometers of the total area of Bangladesh is covered with water, and larger areas are routinely flooded during the monsoon season.
•The only exceptions to Bangladesh's low elevations are the Chittagong Hills in the southeast, the Low Hills of Sylhet in the northeast, and highlands in the north and northwest. The Chittagong Hills constitute the only significant hill system in the country and, in effect, are the western fringe of the north-south mountain ranges of Burma and eastern India. The Chittagong Hills rise steeply to narrow ridge lines, generally no wider than 36 meters, with altitudes from 600 to 900 meters above sea level. At 1,052 meters altitude, the highest elevation in Bangladesh is found at Mowdok, in the southeastern part of the hills. Fertile valleys lie between the hill lines, which generally run north-south. West of the Chittagong Hills is a broad plain, cut by rivers draining into the Bay of Bengal, that rises to a final chain of low coastal hills, mostly below 200 meters, that attain a maximum elevation of 350 meters. West of these hills is a narrow, wet coastal plain located between the cities of Chittagong in the north and Cox's Bazar in the south.
•Bangladesh constitutes the eastern two-thirds of the Ganges-Brahmaputra deltaic plain, which stretches northward from the Bay of Bengal. It has the largest area of river delta in the world, with three main rivers, the Ganges, theBhrahmaputra and the Meghna. Bangladesh occupies the alluvial plain and delta of the lower Bhrahmaputra River, together with a triangle between the Bhrahmaputra and the Ganges, and the triangular plain to the south of the Shillong plateau and the Arakan range on the east. A narrow coastal plain extends southwards at the foot of the Arakan Hills, some of the lower foothills lie within the frontier behind Chittagong. The southern part of the delta is crossed by a complex system of distributaries and interlinking waterways. The southern fringe consists of a series of low muddy islands separated by narrow tidal creeks, with mangrove swamps along the seaward margin. The soil is mostly fine alluvium but there are patches of coarser material, as in the Madhupur jungle. The myriad tributaries and distributaries of the three main rivers divide the entire country.
•In Bangladesh three geographical zones can be distinguished:
•Hills occupy 10 per cent of the country. The Chittagong Hill Tracts in the southeast consist of a series of parallel ridges reaching 1,000m. Other hill terrain occur in the northeast.
•The delta at the Bay of Bengal occupies the south and southwest.
•The plains, generally composed of level alluvium, occupy most of the country and are the most fertile.
•Nepal is a sovereign independent kingdom situated on the southern slopes of the mid-Himalayas, the formidable range of eternal shows. It is located between 26 degree 22' and 30degree 27' north latitude and 80o4' and 80degree12' east longitude.
•Total land area is 147,181 square kilometers
•It borders with the Indian border in the west, south and east and with Tibetan autonomous region of the People's Republic of China in the north.
•The Terai: The Terai lies in the southern part of the country, composed of a 26 to 50 kilometers wide belt of fertile alluvial plain. This belt extends all the way from the western to the eastern border, covers about 17% of the total area. It averages 600 to 1220 meters in altitude.
•The Hills: The Mahabharata range separates the Terai from the Hill region. This range averages 1525 meters to 3660 meters in altitude and 16 kilometers in width. Its structure is synclinal and the topography is steep and jagged. Forests are found on the higher elevations whereas lower slopes are used for terraced cultivation. North of this Range, lies the Pahad region covering 64% of Nepal, the major area for Nepalese settlement.
•The Himalaya: Everyone who has heard of Nepal must have heard about its Himalayas. Himalayas has been so far the most known fact about Nepal. Nepal has the eight of the world's fourteen highest giants. It has 22 out of 31 peaks over 7600 meters in the world.
•Water Bodies: Nepal is a landlocked country. So its water bodies consist of rivers, glaciers and lakes. The main three rivers of Nepal are Koshi, Gandaki, and Karnali.
•Main glaciers are Kanchenjunga, Yalung, Tukuche, Hidden Valley, Nupchu and Lamtang.
•There are many lakes in Nepal. The most widely known lake in Nepal is Lake Phewa, which lies in Pokhara. Other major lakes are Rara Lake and Phoksundo Lake (this is the most beautiful lake in Nepal but not many people go there because of lack of proper transportation)
•Nepal's boundary limits are as follows:
•In the east, the Mechi River and Singallia ridge separate the country from Sikkim and West Bengal.
•In the south, the boundary pillars and about nine meters of no-man's land on either side demarcate the Nepalese territory from the Indian states of West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
•In the west Mahakali River is the natural border separating the Kingdom from Uttar Pradesh.
•Nepal's northern boundary merges with the Tibet Autonomous region of the People's Republic of China.
Nepal is a land-locked country, the nearest seacoast being 1,127 kilometers away in India.
•The major part of the country is of high mountains and rolling hills.
•It accounts for about 83% of the total land and the plain of Terai occupies the remaining 17%. Altitude varies from 152 meters above the sea level in the Terai in the south to 8848 meters in the north Himalayas.
•Plateau- triangular in shape.
•Occupies – 2.4% of total area of world.
•7th largest country
•Located fully in northern & eastern hemisphere
•8 N & 37 N latitude – 68 E & 97 E longitude
•Total area- 32,87,263 sq kms
•Extends over 2,933 km from east to west & 3,214 from north to south
•28 states – 7 centrally administered Territories.
•New states – Chhattisgharh, Jharkhand, Uttaranchal in 2000
•Islands – Andaman and Nicobar Islands , Lakshadveep
•Coastline – 7,516.5 kms
•Land border –length – 15,200 kms with neighbouring countries
•The Tropic of Cancer (23 ½ N latitude) passes through the middle of the country & divides India almost two halves.
•82 ½ East longitude passes near Allahabad is central meridian of India.(it means that when it is noon on the longitude of 821/2 degree E , the time taken for the whole of India is taken as noon, although at places to the east of standard meridian it is already past noon and at places to the west of the standard Meridian it is not yet noon.
•Indian standard Time – based on this longitude
•Sovereign Democratic Republic.
•28 states, 6 union territories for effective administration
•Delhi – capital
•Rajasthan – largest state – area of 3,42,239 sq. km
•Goa – smallest state – 3,702 sq. km
Physical divisions•Himalayan mountains form northern mountain
-Variety of landforms.
-Landforms were formed in different stages of earth’s geological history
-Major physical divisions
1.The Northern mountains
2.The North Indian Plain.
3.The Peninsular Plateau
4.The coastal regions and Islands
5.Western and Eastern Ghats
6.The Thar Desert (Great Indian Desert)
•Highest mountain ranges in he world
•Have highest mountain peaks, deep valleys, glaciers etc
•Mountain ranges start from Pamir Knot in the west & extend upto Nagaland in the east.
•Extend over 2,500km.•Spread of land space along the mountains is about 5.0 lakh square kms. •Himalayas, the highest mountain system in the world, is also one of the world's youngest mountain ranges.
• It extends practically uninterrupted for a distance of some 2500 km and covers an area of about 500,000 sq km.
•These fold mountains comprises mainly of three main almost parallel ranges with intervening valleys.
•Include Himalayas, Trans-Himalayan Ranges and Eastern Hills or Purvanchal.
• It contains the world's highest mountain peak, Everest and some ten peaks rising above 7,500 m.
• It appears to have risen as a result of a collision between the drifting Indian (peninsular) plate and the Tibetan plate of South Asia about 50 million years ago.
•The Himalayas reached their present heights much later.
HIMALAYAS FROM SPACE
Born out of the Tethys Sea which lied between the Gondwanaland in the South & Angarland in the north.
•Have been formed during different stages of continental drift of the Gondwana landmass.
•Tethys sea was receiving sediments from rivers like Indus, Sutlej and Tsangpo.
•100 million years ago Gondwanaland of the peninsular India drifted towards the Tethys Sea, thus pushing up the sediments to the north.
•Due to successive movements of earth, the Greater, then the Lesser and finally the Outer Himalayas were formed.
•There are 3 parallel ranges in the Himalayas.
1.The Greater Himalayas or Himadri
2.The Lesser Himalayas or Himachal
3.The Outer Himalayas or Siwaliks
1. Greater Himalayas or Himadri
•Highest range of the Himalayans mountains.
•Average height of this range is 6000mts.
•Some peaks are more than 8000 mts.
•Range extends from Nanga Parbat in the west to Namche Barwa in the east.
•Highest peak of Himalayan mountains are in this range.
•Nanga Parbat peak (8,126 m), Namcha Barwa peak (7,756 m)
•Himalayan Range, Mount Everest, Nepal. 8848m
•Its between Tibet and Nepal.
•Highest peak in the world
•GPS was used in 1999 to verify its height.
•First scaled in 1958.
•600 climbers from 20 countries have reached the peak.
•100 have died.
•China is planning to build highway to Mt. Everest. Latest report
MOUNT GODWIN AUSTIN (K2)
•Mount Godwin Austin or K2 is the highest mountain peak in India.
•Second highest in the world.
•Height – 8,611 mts- in the Karakoram range
Name means ‘The Provider’
Giant glaciers empty into the Kali Gandaki river.
OTHER PEAKS ARE:
•Mountain range has many glaciers.
•Most important is Gangotri glacier which is the source of the river Ganges.
•The passes in this mountain range are at a height of above 4,570 mts.
•Important passes are Shipki-la which connects Gartok in Tibet with Simla in HImachal Pradesh across Sutlej river & Jelep-la which connects Llasa, the capital of Tibet with Kalimpong in West Bengal.
•They provide good transport facility & also attract tourists.
•Is about 3,600 mts to 4,500 mts high.
•Has parallel ranges & some of them are covered with snow
•Forests in the northern part of these ranges
•Pir Panjal, Dhauladhar, Mahabharat, Mussoorie ranges are important ranges.
•Contain mountain valleys & hill stations
•Kashmir valley, Kangra Valley, Kulu valley, Lahul Valley are important valleys
•Noted for scenic beauty & attract many tourists
•Shimla, Ranikhet, Mussoorie, Nainital, Darjeeling-important hill stations of these ranges .
OUTER HIMALAYAS OR SIWALIKS
•These are foothills of the Himalayas.
•These ranges are formed by the deposition of materials brought down by the rivers, which rise in the Himalayas and flow through these ranges.
•Average height – about 1300 mts.
•In these ranges there are many narrow plains, called doons, eg. Dehradoon .
Importance of Himalayan mountains -
•Checks the chilly cold winds that blow from central Asian and Siberian regions
•Northern river plain region is comparatively warm.
•Stop the monsoon winds and cause rainfall & to its fertility.
•They are source of many rivers.
•They are source of minerals.
•Rivers that flow on their slopes are helpful for irrigation & generation of hydro-electricity.
•They attract tourists.
•Their valleys are noted for the cultivation of fruits like apples & crops like tea & saffron
•Many medical plants & herbs grow in these mountains.
NORTH INDIAN PLAIN•Is also known as Gangetic plain
•Total area – 6,52,000 sq. km.
•Is situated between the Himalayan Mountains in the north & the Peninsular plateau in the south
•Is formed by alluvium brought down by the rivers
•Sindhu,Ganga, Brahamaputra rivers and its tributaries originate from Himalayas
•Flow in the northern plain.
•Full of water in rainy season
•In summer- snow melts
•Useful for agriculture – fertile
•Alluvial soil washed down adds to fertility of the plains
•Wheat, sugarcane, rice are grown in plenty
•Since land is almost flat, it is very easy to construct irrigation canals & have inland navigation
•Has excellent roads and railways, which helped in establishment of many industries.
•40% of the total population of India lives here.
•Therefore it is called “The heart of India.”
•It is the largest of India’s physical divisions.
•Narmada rift valley divides the peninsular plateau into 2 parts – Malwa plateau & Deccan Plateau
•Malwa plateau is bounded by Aravalli hills in the north west & Vindhya mountains in the south
•Central India – valleys of Narmada & Tapti rivers
•Vindhya and Satpura ranges separate Deccan Plateau from North India
GEOLOGICAL HISTORY OF DECCAN PLATEAU
•The vast volcanic basalt beds of the Deccan were laid down in the massiveDeccan Traps eruption, which occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period, 65 million years ago. Some paleontologists speculate that this eruption may have accelerated the extinction of the dinosaurs. Layer after layer was formed by the volcanic activity that lasted many thousands of years, and when the volcanoes became extinct, they left a region of highlands with typically vast stretches of flat areas on top like a table. Hence it is also known as Table Top. The volcanic hotspot that produced the deccan traps is hypothesized to lie under the present day island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean.
Typically the Deccan Plateau is made up of basalt extending upto Bhor Ghat nearKarjat. This is an extrusive igneous rock. Also in certain sections of the region, we can find granite, which is an intrusive igneous rock. The difference between these two rock types are: basalt rock forms on eruption of lava, that is, on the surface (either out of a volcano, or through massive fissures -- as in the Deccan basalts -- in the ground), while granite forms deep within the Earth. Granite is afelsic rock, meaning it is rich in potassium feldspar and quartz. This composition is continental in origin (meaning it is the primary composition of the continental crust). Since it cooled underground, it has large visible crystals. Basalt, on the other hand, is mafic in composition -- meaning it is rich in pyroxene and, in some cases, olivine, both of which are Mg-Fe rich minerals. Basalt is similar in composition to mantle rocks, indicating that it came from the mantle and did not mix with continental rocks. Basalt forms in areas that are spreading, whereas granite forms in areas that are colliding. Since both rocks are found in the Deccan Plateau, it indicates two different environments of formation
•The Deccan is rich in minerals. Primary mineral ores found in this region aremica and iron ore in the Chhota Nagpur region, and diamonds, gold and othermetals in the Golconda region.
Deccan Plateau – satelite photograph•oldest land masses of the world & is formed of hard rocks
•Total area of both plateaus – 7,05,000 sq. km.
•Malwa plateau slopes towards Gangetic Plain.
•Highest peak on the Aravallis is Mt. Guru Shikhar.
•Mt. Abu – famous hill station on Aravallis
•Deccan plateau is surrounded by Satpura hills, Mahadeo hills, Maikala range, Amarkanak hills, Rajmahal hills in the north and Western Ghats in the west and the Eastern Ghats in the east.
•Eastern & Western Ghats – serve borders to plateau.
•These ghats meet each other at Udagamandalam (Ooti) (Nilgiri hills)
•Tableland slopes eastwards
•Height is great in the west
•So rivers originating on Western Ghats flow eastwards.
•Include Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Cauvery and their tributaries.
•Smaller east flowing rivers like the Pennar, Palar and the Tamraparni.
•Small west-flowing rivers originating on Western Ghats or Sahyadri and watering the West Coast like Mandovi, Kali, Netravati, Pamba and the Manimala in Kerala.
•Eastern Ghats, bordering the East Coast of India, is cut up by the powerful rivers into discontinuous blocks of mountains.
•In its northern parts between the Godavari and Mahanadi rivers it rises to above 1000 metres .
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WESTERN GHATS AND EASTERN GHATS:
WESTERN GHATS are higher & continuous
EASTERN GHATS are not very high and continuous. They are broken
Western Ghats are closer to the sea whereas Eastern Ghats are not closer to the sea.There are wider plains in between Eastern ghats and the sea.
IMPORTANCE OF PENINSULAR PLATEAU
•Has economic importance because :
•Of its rich mineral resources
•Many rivers have waterfalls – help in generation of hydro-electric power.
•Suitable for cotton cultivation
•Dense forests are home of many wild animals
COASTAL PLAINS AND ISLANDS
India – 6,100 km length of coastline.
•Extends from Kachchh in Gujarat in the west to the Gangetic delta in the east.
•Coast of India is divided into Western Coastal plain and Eastern Coastal plain.
•Western coastal plain lies between Western Ghats and the Arabian sea & extends from Gulf of Kachchh in the north to Cape Comorin (Kanyakumari) in the south to the length of about 1,500 km.
•It is divided into Malabar Coast, Karnataka (Canara) coast, Konkan coast, Gujarat coast, Kachchh & Kathiawad peninsulas.
•Coast is straight and affected by the South-West Monsoon winds.
•So there are only few good harbours.
•Important Ports -Kandla, Mumbai, Nhava-Sheva, Marmagoa. Karwar, Mangalore, Kochi
•Eastern coast extends from Kanyakumari to the Gangetic delta & between Eastern Ghats and Bay of Bengal.
•It constists of the deltas of rivers Mahanadhi, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri.
•It is broad & flat land.
•There are some salt water lakes or lagoons
•Chilka lake of Orissa, Pulicat Lake of Tamilnadu
•Ports in Western Coast – Cambay, Kandla, Surat, Mumbai, Goa, Karwar, Mangalore, Kozhikode (Calicut), Cochin, Trivandrum, and ancient port of Muziris (Kranganore)
•Eastern coast ports – Tamluk , Kolkotta, Paradeep, Vishakapattanam, Chennai, Pondicherry & Tuticorin.
IMPORANCE OF COASTAL PLAINS
•Good for agriculture, trade, industrial centres, fishing, & salt making.
•Provide important hinterlands for the ports.
•Play an important role in the economic development of India.
ISLANDS OF INDIA
ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLANDS
•247 islands in India.
•204 islands in the Bay of Bengal.
•43 in Arabian Sea
•Few coral islands in the Gulf of Mannar
•Andaman & Nicobar islands in Bay of Bengal consist of hard volcanic rocks
•Middle Andaman & Nicobar Islands – largest islands of India.
•Southern – most point is in Great Nicobar Island.
•Called Indira Point
•Lakshadweep islands are in Arabian Sea.
They are formed by corals and are surrounded by fringing reefs. They have total area of 32 square kilometres.
RIVERS & LAKES OF INDIA
•Varied relief – so there are several river systems in India.
•The main rivers of the Himalayan group are the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra.
•These rivers are both snow-fed and rain-fed and have therefore continuous flow throughout the year.
•Himalayan rivers discharge about 70% of their inflow into the sea.
•This includes about 5% from central Indian rivers. They join the Ganga and drain into the Bay of Bengal.
•Rivers play important role in the economic development of India.
•Help in irrigation
•Help in inland navigation
•River system can be divided into two groups.
•1. North Indian rivers
•2. South Indian rivers
NORTH INDIAN RIVERS
•Mostly rise in the Himalayan mountains
•Are snowfed & rainfed
•Perennial in character
•There are 3 river systems in North India.
•Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra
RIVER GANGES AND ITS TRIBUTARIES
The Ganga, famous alike in legend and history, is considered the most sacred river by the Hindus. It covers, what is called the heartland of India, which was the main centre of the ancient Aryan culture.
It rises near the glacier, Gangotri in the Himalayas and flows through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal to fall into the Bay of Bengal. Gangaand its tributaries Jamuna, Gornti, Garga, Sarda, Gandak, Chambal, Son and Kosi, spread out like a fan in the plain of India thus forming the largest river basin in India, with an area, one quarter of the total area of India.
•The Indus, which the Aryans called the Sindhu, has lent its name to India.
•Its valleys on both sides have been the seat of a civilization.
•The Brahmaputra rising in western Tibet, flows for some 1300 km through the Himalayas, then turns south-west and then south, joining the easternmost branch of the Ganga the Padma and empties together with Ganga into the Bay of Bengal.
•The rivers of Deccan denuding their beds for long geological ages have developed flat valleys with low gradients. The major Deccan rivers are the Godavari, the Krishna, the Cauvery, the Pennar, the Mahanadi, the Damodar, the Sharavati, the Netravati, the Bharatapuzha, the Periyar, the Pamba, the Narmada and the Tapti.
•These rivers are entirely rain-fed with the result that many of them shrink into rivulets during the hot season. The Deccan rivers contribute about 30% of the total outflow in India. Of this, the rivers that flow from west to east account for 20% and those from east to west about 10%
SOUTH INDIAN RIVERS
•Flow only during the rainy season.
•Dry in summer
•Seasonal rivers and dams are constructed across them to store water.
•Since they flow on the slopes of the ghats, they have many waterfalls.
•Helpful in generation of hydro-electricity .
•Few natural lakes in India
•Salt water lakes – Chilka & Pulicat
•In Kerala – few backwaters
•Dal lake in Kashmir – fresh water lake
•Wulur lake – fresh water
•Nal lake – fresh water lake near Ahmedabad- well known bird sanctuaryMagada masur lake near Dharwad, Sambar lake in Rajasthan and Kolleru lake in Andhra Pradesh – all important fresh water lakes