The Peninsular Plateau, Coastal Plain and Islands UPSC Notes | EduRev

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UPSC : The Peninsular Plateau, Coastal Plain and Islands UPSC Notes | EduRev

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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 creation of the Himalyas 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.

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 Peninsular Plateau, Coastal Plain and Islands UPSC Notes | EduRev
The Peninsular Plateau, Coastal Plain and Islands UPSC Notes | EduRev
The Peninsular Plateau, Coastal Plain and Islands UPSC Notes | EduRev

  • 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.

 

Facts to be Remembered
  • Hurricanes or typhoons develop and mature over water bodies only.
  • Relative humidity varies with latitudes seasonally.
  • The fog that commonly occurs along the sea-coasts is of the advection type.
  • The coral reefs are most characteristic of Pacific Ocean.
  • Along the coasts salinity is lowered.
  • Pacific ocean touches the shores of Asia on one side and that of America on the other.
  • Gulf Stream, the most important current of the Atlantic Ocean, takes its birth from the Gulf of Mexico.
  • The world’s major commercial fishing grounds are located in cool water of the northern hemisphere in comparatively higher latitudes.
  • North Sea is the largest fishing ground in the world.
  • The most important uranium ore deposits occur in Zaire.
  • Scandinavia is a suitable country for exploiting hydroelectricity because of the presence of lakes.
  • Eskimos live in tents called ‘tupics’ in summer.
  • In winter Eskimos live in dwellings called igloo.
  • In U.S.A. rice is grown in Texas.
  • The Ruhr-Complex is a major industrial centre in Germany.
  • The construction of Panama Canal in 1914 eliminated the long and hazardous voyage round the stormy cape of Good Hope.
  • Collective farm of Ukraine is also known as Kolkhoz.
  • The busiest inland water way of Europe is the Rhine.
  • Oyster-farming is practised in Japan.
  • Fish farming in paddy fields is practised in China.
  • Gibralter divides Europe from Africa.
  • The shortest air route from Moscow to San Francisco is over the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Water in fields for paddy cultivation should not be stagnant because soil aeration and nitrate formation are impeded in stagnant water and this decreases yield.
  • The longest shore-line is along the state of Gujarat.
  • The general physical relief is likely to be the boldest in the Deccan plateau.

 

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 form 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.
  • The Western Ghats are known by different regional names such as the Sahyadris in Maharashtra and Karnataka, the Nilgiris in Tamiklnadu, 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 Maharasshtra 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 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.

 

Facts to be Remembered
  • The peninsular plateau of India extends up to Meghalaya hills.
  • The main difference between the Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats is in the matter of continuity.
  • The region on the southern side of the Siwalik is called the Bhabhar.
  • The Nilgiris are part of the Western Ghats.
  • Ganga beyond Farakka, when it enters Bangladesh, is known as Padma.
  • Mahanadi is the east flowing river of the Peninsula.
  • The youngest river in India originates from the Himalayas.
  • Tochi, Gilgit and Hunza are tributaries of Indus.
  • The retreating monsoon withdraws itself from North-West India to Bengal and then to Kerala.
  • The place in India receiving the lowest rainfall is Leh.
  • The western disturbances which cause winter rain in India originate in West Asia.
  • The retreating south-west monsoon does not affect Uttar Pradesh.    
  • The amount and intensity of monsoon rainfall is determined by the frequency of tropical depressions.
  • South-west monsoons are on-shore winds.
  • North-east monsoons are off-shore winds.
  • The Kerala coast has the minimum seasonal variations in temperature.
  • For north India ‘western disturbances’ are beneficial to the crops by causing winter rain.

 

Significance of Peninsular Plateau

  • Geological richness: The plateau is marked by its great geological stability and immunity from the seismic disturbances (except that of Kutch and Koyna). The peninsular India contains almost all the mineralised areas of the country wherein now industries have developed. For example the terrain of Jharkhand, 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 corrundum. Manganese, diamond, coal, slaltes, shale, sandstones, marbles, limestone, and phyllites are found in the lower Gondwana sedimentary rocks of Madhya Pradesh.
  • 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.
  • 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 plants area of the peninsula is important for growing rice, coconut, areca palms sago and variety of tropical fruits (mangoes, pineapples, bananas).
  • Forest Resources: Deccan plateau, specially 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, mabogany, gum-kino, cedar, rosewood, cane, bamboos, sal, sandalwood, sissoo), tall grasses, shrubs and herbs—which provide commercial timber and fodder respectively.
  • 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 nonkeys (Nilgiri Langur) and the lion-tailed macaque.
  • 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. 

 

IMPORTANT PASSES

PASS

LOCATION

1.

Karakoram

Jammu & Kashmir

2.

Shipkila

Himachal Pradesh

3.

Barahooti

Himachal Pradesh

4.

Rohtang

Himachal Pradesh

5.

Sutlej Gorge

Himachal Pradesh

6.

Nathula

Sikkim

7.

Bomdila

Arunachal Pradesh

8.

Thal Ghat

Western Ghats

9.

Pal Ghat

Western Ghats

10.

Bhor Ghat

Western Ghats

 

The Coastal Plain 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 the western coastal plains.
  • The west coast is narrower but more wet than the east coast, which is much wider but relatively dry.
  • A number of river deltas occur on the east coast, viz., the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna and the Cauvery, because the slope of Eastern Ghats is gentle and it allows rivers to form deltas and hence the east coast is broad whereas the steep slopes of Western Ghats (Sahyadris) do not allow such depositional action along the west coast and hence the west coast is narrower.
  • The deltas of east coast form 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 backwaters, on other hand, are noted for spices, arecanuts, coconut, palms, etc.

Western Coastal Plains: These lie between the Western Ghats and the Arabian sea and stretch from Kutch in the north to Kanyakumari in the south. Kutch and Kathiawar peninsula and the Gujarat plain lie at their northern end.

  • The Gujarat Plain is a broad and flat plain, occupied almost wholly by the state of Gujarat.
  • The Kutch Peninula also consists of a very low and rifle land. The two important inlets here are the Gulf of Kutch and the Gulf of Cambay. Narmada, Sabarmati, Tapti and Mahi drain this area into 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 (1,117m). 
  • The coastal area is covered with wind blown sand, but further south it is mostly alluvium brought by streams from the Western Ghats.
  • Further south of the Daman, lie the western coastal plains proper which could be sub-divided regionally into the Konkan cost in Maharashtra Canara coast  in Karnataka and Malabar coast in Kerala.
  • Except the Gujarat plain and the Kathiawar peninsula the Western coast has a narrow alluvial margin interspersed by hilly terrain.
  • The coastal region here is not very broad. 
  • The Malabar coast is broader and less hilly. All along the coast are nukmerous streams, all short and with limited catchment areas.
  • There are a number of lagoons, backwaters (kayal) and small lakes, the largest of which is the Venchanar, about 60 km in length.

Eastern Coastal Plains: the coastal low lands extend from the mouth of the Ganga to Kanyakumari.

  • The northern half is called northern Circars or Kalinga coast, while the southern half is known as the Coromandal coast. The east coast is broader than the west coast in several places.
  • The broader part is the Carnatic region, which is about 480 km wide. It is also less rocky, but the sea around the coast is shallow, and ocean-going ships cannot come near.
  • The surf is considered dangerous to land in small boats. All along this coast, the east flowing rivers have created large deltas as they bring vast quantities of alluvium. 
  • The prominent deltas are those of the Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery.
  • They are not suitable for harbours as their mouths being full of silt.
  • There are several lakes on the east coast, the larger among them are Chilka in Orissa and Kollenu and Codicut in Andhra Pradesh.

 

Facts To Be Remembered
  • Winter rains in north-western India are caused by westerly depressions.
  • One of the regions that receives rainfall from the North easterly monsoon is Tamil Nadu.
  • During the period of the Southwest Monsoon, Tamil Nadu rem,ains dry because it lies in the rain-shadow area.
  • Rajasthan receives very little rain because the winds do not come across any barrier to cause the necessary uplift to cool the winds.
  • The Aravallis fail to cause orographic precipitation in Rajhasthan because they lie parallel to the direction of the winds.
  • Mountain soil contains a lot of coarse material.
  • Alluvial soil is fertile mainly because it contains minerals in fine particles which can be absorbed easily by plants.
  • The erosion of soil by winds can be controlled by the creation of wind breaks.

 

Significance of Coastal Plans

  • Harbours: The coasts of India are very little indicted by  larger inlets, the only significant ones being the Gulf of Cambay and the Rann of Kutch.
  • The west coast has small inlets and east has delta creeks.
  • Hence, natural harbours along the coasts are few. Bombay, Mamugao, Cochin, New Mangalore and Vishakhapatnam have natural harbours, but others do not.
  • Hence, the facility of good port along the coast line. 
  • Specialise Crops: The coastal plains are associated with specialised crops of spices, pepper, ginger and cardamom on the west coast and rice, arecanut palms and coconuts on the east.
  • Fisheries and Navigation: A large number of fishing villages abound near the coasts.
  • The backwaters and lagoons on the coasts are linked together for navigation along the coast and the interior. Large catches of sardines, eel, anchovies, carp, silver fish, mullets marginal, etc. are caught near the coast.
  • Economic Influence: The coast line has a large number of scenic spots and beaches that provide recreation to a large number of tourists.
  • Besides, salt is manufactured along the west coast throughout the year except the rainy season.
  • Historical Importance: Ancient forts and factories are found scattered along the coast line.
  • The east coast is studded with fertile gardens, with magnificent temples (such as a Madurai, Thanjavur and Kancheepuram) and decorative Hindu monuments ) as at Mahabalipuram (with scores of ancient centre of culture and industry

 

Facts To Be Remembered
  • The largest producer of groundnuts in India.
  • China is the largest producer of tobacco.
  • The largest quantity of barley is produced in Russia.
  • The largest producer of long staple cotton in USA.
  • India has the largest cattle population.
  • India is a leading producer of cheese.
  • The largest producer of fish in the world is Japan.
  • The largest producer of mutton are New Zealand and Australia.
  • Aluminium ore is known as bauxite.
  • The leading producer of bauxite is Australia.
  • One of the leading producers of chromium is South Africa.
  • The largest producer of mercury is Italy.
  • Zaire is the leading producer of diamond.
  • The leading producers of mica are India and USA.
  • The largest producer of phosphate is USA.
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