Physical Geography of India (Part - 3) UPSC Notes | EduRev

Geography for UPSC (Civil Services) Prelims

UPSC : Physical Geography of India (Part - 3) UPSC Notes | EduRev

The document Physical Geography of India (Part - 3) UPSC Notes | EduRev is a part of the UPSC Course Geography for UPSC (Civil Services) Prelims.
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THE GREAT NORTHERN PLAINS
The great Northern Plain or the Indo-Gangetic Plain lies between the great Himalayas in the north and the plateau of peninsular India in the south. It forms a great curve from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal, nearly 2,400 km long and around 250-320 km broad, the most extensive plain indeed. It is said that this region was once a vast depression, which was filled with the silt brought down by the three great Himalayan rivers, namely the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra and their numerous tributaries. At some places, the thickness of the alluvium is as much as 2,000 m and it contains some of the richest soils.

Physical Geography of India (Part - 3) UPSC Notes | EduRev

 The Northern Plain

In these remarkably homogenous alluvial expanses are found little differences of slopes and aspect, such as the Bhangar and the Khadar. 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. These two are separated by river terraces.

Question 1:The  alluvial soil thickness in Northern Plains is recorded as high as?


Bhabar and Terai

  • Bhabar or Ghar, which forms the northern boundary of the great plains, includes those regions where the Himalayas and other hilly regions join the plains. In this region, coarse sand and pebbles are deposited which are brought down from the hills by the mountain streams. 
  • Bhabar lands are narrower in the east and extensive in the western and north-western hilly region. In this region, only larger rivers flow on the surface while dry river courses are also marked in which water of smaller streams sinks underground and later reappears on the surface where the plains begin. This water converts large areas along the rivers into swamps known as terai, which is mostly ill-drained and densely forested.

Physical Geography of India (Part - 3) UPSC Notes | EduRev

Bhabar and Terai

The Western or Rajasthan Plains
These plains include the arid plain of Rajasthan, known as Marusthali of Thar, and the adjoining Bagar areas to the west of Aravalli, covering an area of 1.75 lakh km2. The presence of dry river beds (Saraswati, Drisdavati) proves that the region was once fertile. Luni, whose water is sweet in the upper reaches and saltish by the time it reaches the sea, is the only flowing river at present. There are 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 and dunes occur.

Physical Geography of India (Part - 3) UPSC Notes | EduRev

Western or Rajasthan Plains

Question 2:In the Western or Rajasthan Plains, table salt is obtained from which of these rivers?

The Punjab-Haryana Plains
These plains extending for 640 km from north-east to south-west and 300 km from west to east, covering an area of 1.75 lakh km2, are remarkably flat with average elevation being 200 to 204 m. These plains owe their formation to the Sutlej, the Beas and the Ravi rivers. Many low lying flood plains (called bet) are found here. The Bari Dab between Ravi and Beas rivers, the Bist Doab between the Beas and Sutlej and the Malwa plain are relatively more fertile plains which are irrigated by many canals.
Physical Geography of India (Part - 3) UPSC Notes | EduRev

Punjab Plains

The Ganga Plains
The Ganga plains, spread over Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, occupy an area of 3.57 lakh Km2. The Yamuna that flows near the western boundary of the plain for about 800 km joins the Ganga at Prayag. The Ganga-Yamuna Doab comprising the Rohilkhand and the Avadh plain is the fertile area that is drained by the tributaries of Ganga.

Physical Geography of India (Part - 3) UPSC Notes | EduRevGanga Plains

The North Bengal Plains
The plains extending from the foot of Eastern Himalayas to the northern limb of Bengal basin cover an area of 23,000 km2. These plains are drained by the rivers joining the Brahmaputra and tributaries of Ganga in the western and eastern part respectively. The Bengal basin mainly comprises the Ganga delta that is low and flat and would be completely submerged if the sea level rises by 6m.

Brahmaputra Plains
This is a low-level plain, rarely more than 80 km broad, surrounded by high mountains on all sides except on the west. These slope from east to west and are liable to frequent floods. These plains are the aggradational work of the Brahmaputra, Sesiri, Dihang and the Lohit. Geologically these are the least interesting part of India.

Physical Geography of India (Part - 3) UPSC Notes | EduRev

Brahmaputra Plains


Question 3:Rohilkhand and the Avadh plain are part of which of these plains?

Significance of the Great Plains
The northern plain is riverine region, being beautifully endowed with fertile soil, favourable climate, flat surface rendering possible the construction of roads and railways, and slow-moving rivers. All these factors have made this plain very important. An extensive system of irrigation, developed on the tributaries of the Sutlej, the Ganga, the Yamuna and others, has turned the once dreary and desolate tracts of the Punjab, Haryana, northern Rajasthan and U.P., into populous spots.
Question 4:The Western part of the Central Highlands is known as?


THE PENINSULAR PLATEAU
Plateaus are elevated uplands with relatively extensive level surfaces. The peninsular plateaus, also known as the Indian plateaus, are the oldest structure of the Indian subcontinent whose slow and steady movement towards north and north-east has been responsible for the creation of the Himalayas and the Northern Plains in place of the Tethys seas of Geological time. It is marked off from the Indo-Gangetic plain by the mountain and hill ranger such as the Vindhyas, the Satpura, Mahadeo, Maikal and Sarguja ranges with the average height varying between 600-900m.
The Peninsular plateau 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.   

Physical Geography of India (Part - 3) UPSC Notes | EduRev

 Indian Plateau

1. The Central Highlands: These are bounded by the old Aravalli mountains 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. This consists of sheets of lava piled over one another. The central part has a number of small plateaus like those of Rewa, Baghelkand and Bundelkhand. The eastern part of the Central Highlands comprises the Chotanagpur plateau. The Narmada river which largely forms the southern boundary of the Central highlands flow mainly through a rift valley.

Physical Geography of India (Part - 3) UPSC Notes | EduRev

The Central highland

2. The Deccan Plateau: The Deccan plateau extends from the Vindhyas to the southern tip of the peninsula. This triangular plateau is at its widest in the north. The Vindhya Range and its eastern extension namely Mahadev Hills, Kaimur Hills and Maikal Range from its northern edge. Towards the west, the plateau has a steep slope which is considered to be the result of faulting. This steep slope forms the Western Ghats which extends almost continuously up to the end of the peninsula near Kanyakumari over a distance of 1280km. 

Physical Geography of India (Part - 3) UPSC Notes | EduRev

The Deccan Plateau

  • The Western Ghats are known by different regional names such as the Sahyadris in Maharashtra and Karnataka, the Nilgiris in Tamilnadu, and Annamalai and the Cardamom hill along the Kerala and Tamilnadu 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 Tamilnadu with Kerala. The Bhorghat and the Thalghat are other gaps laying in Maharashtra state.
  • The Deccan plateau is the highest along its western edge and gently slopes towards the Bay of Bengal in the east. 
  • The eastern edge of the Deccan plateau is marked by a series of scattered hills known as the Eastern Ghats
  • These hills rise steeply from the Coromandal coastal plain. 
  • The Eastern Ghats are well developed in the region between the Godavari and Mahanadi rivers. 
  • The Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats converge in the Nilgiri hills. Dodda Betta (2,637 m) is the highest peak in the Nilgiri hills.
  • The surface of the Deccan plateau slopes gradually towards the east. While all the major rivers of the peninsular block flow into the Bay of Bengal, Narmada and Tapi are the only two rivers flowing in the opposite direction to fall in the Arabian Sea.
  • The north-western part of the Deccan plateau in Maharashtra consists of an extensive lava plateau known as the Deccan trap region. This consists of flat topped hill ranges forming on their flanks series of terraces. The rest of the Deccan plateau which consists of crystalline rocks, mainly granite in the south, has an undulating topography of rounded residual hills and shallow stream and river basins.

Significance of Peninsular Plateau
(a) Geological richness: The plateau is marked by its great geological stability and immunity from the seismic disturbances (except that of Kutch and Koyna). Peninsular India contains almost all the mineralised areas of the country wherein now industries have developed. For example, the terrain of Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and the south-eastern Rajasthan contain concentration of ore deposits, viz., manganese, iron and copper ore, bauxite, chromium, mica, rock phosphate, and over three-fourths of India’s bituminous coal reserves. Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh produce gold, iron, chromium and porcelain clay. Telangana produces coal, mica, graphite and corundum. Manganese, diamond, coal, slates, shale, sandstones, marbles, limestone, and phyllites are found in the lower Gondwana sedimentary rocks of Madhya Pradesh.
(b) Source of Irrigation and Hydroelectricity: The rivers which flow eastward of the Western Ghats have impetuous waterfalls in their reaches which have been harnessed for the production of hydroelectricity. Waters of the Ghats have also been impounded at several places for irrigation and hydroelectric power.
(c) Agricultural Resources: A greater part of the north-west plateau is covered with basaltic lava which being rich in iron is conducive to production of cotton while laterite soils are ideal for tea, rubber, coffee and millet. Tobacco, groundnuts and oilseeds are abundantly grown in this region. The low-lying plant's area of the peninsula is important for growing rice, coconut, areca palms sago and variety of tropical fruits (mangoes, pineapples, bananas).
(d) Forest Resources: Deccan plateau, especially the slopes of Western Ghats and other highlands are covered with teak and softwood. More valuable forest of the Ghats are the varied mixed deciduous forest rich in evergreens (like ebony, mahogany, gum-kino, cedar, rosewood, cane, bamboos, sal, sandalwood, sissoo), tall grasses, shrubs and herbs—which provide commercial timber and fodder respectively.
(e) Rich Fauna: Because of the steep, high scarps on the crest and undulant eastern slopes, and typical swampy clearings between the hills, offering a much varied terrain with cover, fodder and water suit climatic vagaries, the Western Ghats are among the finest faunal tracts of India. Three mammals are exclusive to the southern reaches of these Ghats: the Nilgiri Thar (Nilgiri Ibex of hunters), the black monkeys (Nilgiri Langur) and the lion-tailed macaque.
(f) Cultural Influence: The vindhyas and the Satpuras together constitute a main dividing line between the north and south India. They have acted as a cultural barrier against the spread of Aryans from the north and the south India. They have acted as a cultural barrier against the spread of Aryans from the north and the Dravidians from the south. 

Physical Geography of India (Part - 3) UPSC Notes | EduRev 

Question 5:Where is Pal Ghat located?

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