physical features of india

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PHYSICAL FEATURES OF INDIA:

PHYSICAL FEATURES OF INDIA

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Geographical Set Up: India takes its standard time from the meridian of 82 30 E, which is 5 ½  hours ahead of Greenwich Mean time ( 0 longitude).Pakistan time is 5 hours ahead of GMT and Bangladesh time is 6 hours ahead  of GMT. Significance of Location: Barring the plateau of Baluchistan (which form part of Pakistan), the two great ranges of Sulaiman and Kirthar cut it off from the west. Along the north, the great mountain wall formed by the Hindukush, Karakoram and the Himalayas, which is difficult to cross, cuts it off from the rest of the continent. Similarly, the southward of-shoots of the Eastern Himalayas separate it from Russia. The tropical monsoon climate of India, which ensures a fair supply of moisture and forms the basis of farming in India, is also a result of its location in the southern part of Asia. Since the opening of Suez Canal (1867) India’s distance from Europe has been reduced by 7,000km. It thus bridges the space between the highly industrialized nation of the west and the semi-arid, and south-western Asia and the most fertile and populated regions in the south-east and far-east countries.

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S.NO UNITS AREA KM (Sq) ( appro ) % OF TOTAL AREA 01 Northern mountains 578,000 17.9 02 Great Plains 550,000 17.1 03 Thar Desert 175,000 5.4 04 Central Highlands 336,000 10.4 05 Peninsular Plateaus 1,241,000 38.5 06 Coastal Plains 335,000 10.4 07 Islands 8,300 0.3 PHYSIOGRAPHIC UNITS OF INDIA The Trans Himalayas or Tibetan Himalayas: The largest glaciers are Hispar and Batura (over 57 km long) of Hunza Valley and Biafo and Baltaro (60 km long) of Shigar Valley. The Siachen of Nubra Valley is the longest with a length of over 72 km.The Purvachal or the Eastern Hills: In the east after crossing the Cihang gorge the Himalayas bend towards south forming a series of hills running through Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and eastern Assam and form the boundary between India and Burma. Brahmaputra rivers divide Himalayas into three sections: the main Himalayas, the northwest Himalayas and the southeast Himalayas.  The main Himalayas running from the Pamir Plateau in the northwest to Arunachal Pradesh in the southeast are the youngest mountains in the world.  The highest peak of the word, the Mount Everst(8,884m, named after Sir George Everst).

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The Trans Himalayas or Tibetan Himalayas: The largest glaciers are Hispar and Batura (over 57 km long) of Hunza Valley and Biafo and Baltaro (60 km long) of Shigar Valley. The Siachen of Nubra Valley is the longest with a length of over 72 km.The Purvachal or the Eastern Hills: In the east after crossing the Cihang gorge the Himalayas bend towards south forming a series of hills running through Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and eastern Assam and form the boundary between India and Burma. Brahmaputra rivers divide Himalayas into three sections: the main Himalayas, the northwest Himalayas and the southeast Himalayas.  The main Himalayas running from the Pamir Plateau in the northwest to Arunachal Pradesh in the southeast are the youngest mountains in the world.  The highest peak of the word, the Mount Everst(8,884m, named after Sir George Everst).  There are about 140 peaks  in the Himalayas whose elevation is more than the Mount Blanc (4,810m),the highest peak of the Alps. The three mountain ranges: the Himadri in the north(the greater Himalayas)the Himachal in the  middle(the lesser Himalayas) and the Siwalik(the Outer Himalayas),facing thr palins of India.  The Himadri is of grat elevations (6,000m) which remains covered with everlasting snows.  The Siwalik have some flat-floored structural valleys knowns as duns.  Dehradun is well-known. Between the Himadri and the Himachal are some broad synclincal valleys. We also classify them as Punjab Himalayas, Kumayun, Assam Nepal and Northern.

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The Great Northern Plains: Lies between the great Himalayas in the North and the plateau of Peninsular India in the south. Nearly 2400 km long around 250-320 km broad, the most extensive plan indeed. It is said that this region was once a vast depression, filled with silt – brought down by the three Himalayas River, namely the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra and their numerous tributaries. It contains some of the richest soils. The bhangar refers to the upland formed by deposition of older alluvium in the river beds and the Khadar are lowlands formed by deposition of detritus of new alluvium in the river beds. Bhabar and Terai: Includes those regions where the Himalayas and other hilly regions join the plains. Coarse sand and pebbles are deposited. Bhabar lands are narrower in the east and extensive in the western and north-western hilly. Water converts large areas along the river into swamps known as Terai.

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The Western or Rajasthan Plains: are known as Marusthali of Thar and the adjoining Bagar areas to the west of Aravalli. Luni whose water is sweet in the upper reaches and saltish by the time is reaches the sea. The several salt lakes in the region such as the Sambhar, Degana, Kuchaman and Didwana; from which table salt is obtained. In most of the region shifting sand dunes occur. The Punjab-Haryana Plain: These plains owe their formation to the Sutlej, the Beas and the Ravi rivers. Many low lying flood plains (called bets) are found here. The Bari Doab between Ravi and Beas rivers, the Bist Doab between the Beas and Sutlej and the Malwa plain are relatively more fertile plain. The Ganga Plain: The Ganga-Yamuna Doab comprising the Rohilkhand and the Avadh Plain is the tile area that is drained by the tributaries of Ganga. The North Bengal Plains: the Plains extending from the foot of Eastern Himalayas to the northern limb of Bengal basin cover an area of 23,000km2.

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Brahmaputra Plains: This is a low level plain, rarely more than 80km broad, surround by High Mountain on all sides except on the west. Significance of the Great Plains: Riverine region, Fertile soil, favorable climate, flat surface, constructions of roads, extensive system of irrigation. The Peninsular Plateau: oldest structure of the Indian subcontinent whose slow and steady movement towards north and north-east has been responsible for creation of the Himalayas and the Northern Plains in place of the Tethys sea of geological time. It is marked of from the Indo-Gangetic plain by the mountain and hill ranges such as the Vindhyas, the satpura, and Mahadeo, Maikal, and Sarguja ranges with the average height is usually divided into two major subdivisions with the Narmada valley as the line of demarcation. The region north of the Narmada valley is known as the Central Highlands and in south of the Narmada valley lies the Deccan Plateau.

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The Central Highlands: Old Aravalli Mountain on the west and the Vindhyas on the south. This region slopes northward to the Ganga plains. The western part of the Central highlands is known as the Malwa Plateau. The Central part has a number of small plateaus like those of Rewa, Baghelkhand and Bundlekhand. The eastern part of the Central Highlands comprises the Chotanagpur plateau. The Deccan Plateau: The Deccan Plateau extends from the vindhyas to the southern tip of the Peninsula. This triangle plateau is at its widest in the north. The Vindhya Range and its eastern extension namely Mahadev hills Kaimuir Hills and Maikal Range from its northern edge. Western Ghats are known by different regional names such as the Sahyadris in Maharastra and Karnataka, the niligris in Tamil Nadu and Annamalai and the Cardamon hill along the Kerala and Tamil nadu border. The elevation of the ghats increases towards the south. The highest peak, Anaimudi (2,695 m) is in Kerala. The most important gap in the Western Ghats is the Palghat gap which links Tamil Nadu with Kerala. The Bhorghat and the Thalghat are other gaps lying in Maharastra state.

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Eastern Ghats: These hills rise steeply from the Coromandel coastal plain. The Eastern Ghats are well developed in the region between the Godavari and Mahanadi rivers. The Eastern Ghats and Western Ghats converge in the Nilgiri hills. Dodda Betta (2,637 m) is the highest peak in the Nilgiri hills. Significance of Peninsular Plateau: (i) Geological richness (ii) Sources of Irrigation and hydroelectricity (iii) Agricultural Resources (iv) Forest Resources (v) Rich Fauna (vi) Cultural Influences.

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THE COASTAL PLAINS AND ISLANDS The Coastal plains: The Peninsular plateau is bounded by coastal plains on the east and west. There is wide difference between the eastern and western coastal plain. The west coast is narrower but wet. East coast much wider but relatively dry. A number of river deltas occur on the east coast. The deltas of east coast from the ‘granary’ of the five southern states- Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Pondicherry. The western coastal  strips which have a large number of lagoons and back waters on other hand are noted for spices, areca nuts, coconuts palms etc. Western coastal Plain: These lies between the Western Ghats and the Arabian seas and stretch from Kutch in the north to Kanyakumari in the south. The Gujarat plain is a broad and flat plain. The Kutch Peninsula, Gulf of Kutch, and the Gulf of Cambay. The Kathiawar Peninsula, also known as Saurashtra which lies to the south of Kutch, is also a plain level area except for some hills rising into Mount Girnar. Sun-divided regionally into the Konkan coast in Maharastra Canara coast in Karnataka and Malabar Coast in Kerala.

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SOILS COMPOSITION OF SOIL: Soil is the loose material which forms the upper layer of the mantel rock, i.e., the layer of loose fragments which covers most of the earth’s land area. It has definite and constant composition. It contains both decayed plants and animals substances. The four main constituents of soils are; ( i ) Silica: The chief constituent of sand (ii) Clay: is a mixture of silicates and contains several minerals such as iron, potassium, calcium, sodium and aluminum. Particles of clay absorb water and swell. (iii) Chalk: (calcium carbonate) provides calcium, the most important element for the growth of plants. (iv) Humus: is not a mineral, it is an organic matter. It is formed by decomposed plant remains, animal manure and dead animals and is the most important element in the fertility of the soil. It helps retain moisture in the soil and helps the plant in absorbing materials from the soil for building its body. A soil looks dark on account of the presence of humus.

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CLIMATE REGIONS Tropical Rainy climate Region: This region has consistently even temperature, which stays above 18 C even in December, April, and May are the hottest months, the temperature varying from 18 C to 27 C. July and August are the coolest months, which copious rainfall. The average rainfall exceeds 250cm, which encourages wet evergreen forests. The western coastal strip, Western Ghats, south of Bombay, Meghalaya, western Nagaland and Tripura come in this climatic region. 2. Tropical Savanna Region: The chief feature of this climate is the long dry period. Temperature even in winter stay above 18 C, and in summer may even go up to 46 c. Rainfall, except in the southeastern parts, is in summer and averages about 100cm. In the south eastern parts, the retreating monsoons bring sufficient rains. A major part of the southern peninsula, except the arid tract lying east of the Western Ghats, northeastern Gujarat, south Bihar, major parts of Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, northern Andhra Pradesh, eastern Maharastra, and eastern TamilNadu coast come under this region. 3. Tropical Steppe Region: The average temperature is over 27 C, the lowest temperature being about 23 C April and May are the hottest months, when temperature may rise over 30 C. Average rainfall being less than 75cm, the region comprises a part of the famine zone of the country. The southwest monsoons bring rain to this region. The region comprises the rain shadow areas lying east of the Western Ghats and covers Karnataka, interior TamilNadu, western Andhra Pradesh and central Maharastra

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LATITUDE, LONGITUDE AND TIME INTRODUCTION: The earth is nearly a sphere and it has no edges. It presents some difficulties in positioning its surface features. To over come this problem, a network of imaginary lines is drawn on a globe or a map to help us locate places. The spinning of the earth on its axis provides – the North Pole and South Pole. They form the basis for the geographical grid. The grid consists of two sets of lines – horizontal and vertical. The horizontal lines, running eat-west, are circular and parallel to each other. The line drawn midway between the North Pole and the South Pole is called the equator. It is the largest circle and hence, is called a great circle. All other parallels get smaller in size in proportion to their distances form the equator towards the Poles. These imaginary lines running east-west are commonly known as parallels of latitude . The vertical lines, running north-south are halves of the great circle and join the two Poles. They are called meridians of longitude. The latitudes and longitudes are commonly referred to as coordinates because they provide systematic network of lines upon which position of various surface features of the earth can be represented.

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