The Peninsular Plateau: Relevance
- GS 1: Salient features of world’s physical geography.
Physical Features of India
- India’s physical features can majorly be divided into 6 parts:
- The Northern and North-eastern Mountains
- The Northern Plain
- The Peninsular Plateau
- The Indian Desert
- The Coastal Plains
- The Islands.
- We have already dealt with Himalayas and Northern Plains comprehensively. In this article, we will discuss about The Peninsular Plateau.
What is a peninsula?
- A peninsula is a piece of land that is almost entirely surrounded by water but is connected to the mainland on one side.
Peninsular Plateau of India: extension
- Northwest: Delhi ridge
- East: Rajmahal hills
- West: Gir range
- South: Cardamom hills
- Northeast: Shillong and Karbi-Anglong plateau
The Peninsular plateau: Important facts
- Peninsular plateau is one of the oldest and the most stable landmass of India.
- The general elevation of the plateau is from the west to the east, which can also be seen from the pattern of the flow of important rivers like Narmada, Tapi etc.
- Important physiographic features: Tors, block mountains, rift valleys, spurs, bare rocky structures, series of hummocky hills and wall-like quartzite dykes offering natural sites for water storage.
- Soil: The western and north-western part of the plateau has abundant black soil.
- This Peninsular plateau has undergone recurrent phases of upliftment and submergence accompanied by crustal faulting and fractures.
- The Bhima fault is distinct because of its recurrent seismic activities.
- The north-western part of the plateau has a complex relief of ravines and gorges.
On the basis of the relief features, the Peninsular plateau can be divided into three broad groups
- The Deccan Plateau
- The Central Highlands
- The Northeastern Plateau.
The Deccan Plateau
- Deccan Plateau is bordered by the Western Ghats in the west, Eastern Ghats in the east and the Satpura, Maikal range and Mahadeo hills in the north.
- Western Ghats are locally known by different names such as Sahyadri in Maharashtra, Nilgiri hills in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and Anaimalai hills and Cardamom hills in Kerala.
- Western Ghats are comparatively higher in elevation and more continuous than the Eastern Ghats.
- The height of the Ghats increases from north to south.
- Anaimudi is the highest peak of Peninsular plateau, whichi is located on the Anaimalai hills of the Western Ghats.
- Anaimudi is followed by Dodabetta (2,637 m) on the Nilgiri hills.
- Most of the Peninsular rivers have their origin in the Western Ghats.
- The hills of the Eastern Ghats are highly eroded by the rivers such as the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna, the Kaveri, etc.
- Important ranges: Javadi hills, the Palconda range, the Nallamala hills, the Mahendragiri hills, etc.
- The Eastern and the Western Ghats meet each other at the Nilgiri hills.
The Central Highlands
- Central Highlands are bounded to the west by the Aravali range.
- Satpura range forms the northernmost boundary of the Deccan plateau.
- Central highlands are an example of the relict mountains, which are highly denuded and form discontinuous ranges.
- The extension of the Peninsular plateau till Jaisalmer in the West, where it has been covered by the longitudinal sand ridges and crescent-shaped sand dunes called barchans.
- Presence of metamorphic rocks such as marble, slate, gneiss due to metamorphic processes that underwent in the past.
- The general elevation of the Central Highlands ranges between 700-1,000 m above the mean sea level and it slopes towards the north and northeastern directions.
- Most of the tributaries of the river Yamuna have their origin in the Vindhyan and Kaimur ranges.
- An eastern extension of the Central Highland is formed by the Rajmahal hills.
The Northeastern Plateau
- Northeastern Plateau is an extension of the main Peninsular plateau.
- Origin: It is believed that due to the force exerted by the northeastward movement of the Indian plate at the time of the Himalayan origin, a huge fault was created between the Rajmahal hills and the Meghalaya plateau.
- Later, this depression got filled up by the deposition activity of the numerous rivers.
- The Meghalaya and Karbi Anglong plateau are detached from the main Peninsular Block.
- The Meghalaya plateau is further sub-divided into three parts:
- The Garo Hills;
- The Khasi Hills;
- The Jaintia Hills.
- These hills are named after the tribal groups inhabiting this region.
- Similar to the Chotanagpur plateau, the Meghalaya plateau is also rich in mineral resources like coal, iron ore, sillimanite, limestone and uranium.
- Rainfall: This region receives maximum rainfall from the south west monsoon.
- Due to the continuous rainfall, the Meghalaya plateau has a highly eroded surface.