Physical Features of India: Coastal Plains & Plateaus
A plateau is an elevated area on top which there is a more or less levelled land. It has on its top a large area and on its sides a steep slope. Plateaus can be classified into the following categories:
- Intermontane Plateaus - Between mountains ranges. Eg Tibet Plateau
- Piedmont plateaus - Located at the foot of the mountain and is locked by sea or plain. Eg - Malwa Plateau
- Continental plateaus - Formed by extensive continental upliftment. Eg - Plateau of Maharastra
- Volcanic plateaus - Produced by volcanic activity
- Dissected plateaus - Plateaus whose area have been severely eroded
The Peninsular Plateau
- The Peninsular Plateau is formed due to the breaking and drifting of the Gondwana land and thus making it a part of the oldest landmass. This is one of the oldest and stable landmasses in India.
- It is a tableland composed of old crystalline, igneous and metamorphic rocks.
- It is an irregular triangle in structure extends as Delhi ridge in the north-west, Rajmahal hills in the east, Gir range in the west and Cardamom Hills in the south.
- The important physiographic features of this are - block mountains, rift valleys, spurs, bare rocky structures, series of hummocky hills and wall like quartzite dykes offering natural sites for water storage.
- It has undergone recurrent phases of upliftment and submergence accompanied by crustal faulting and fractures.
- On the basis of relief features, the peninsular plateau is divided into three broad groups –
- The Deccan Plateau
- The Central Highlands
- The North-eastern Plateau
The Deccan Plateau
- The Deccan Plateau is a triangular landmass that lies to the south of R. Narmada.
- It is bordered by the Western Ghats in the west, the Eastern Ghats in the east and the Satpura, Maikal and Mahadeo range in the north and north-eastern part.
- The Deccan Plateau is higher in the west and slopes gently eastwards.
- Western and Eastern Ghats are defining boundries of the Deccan plateau, the comparison between these two ranges are mentioned in the following table
Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats
They are continuous and can be crossed only through passes.
They are discontinuous and irregular
Average Elevation – (900 – 1600)m
Average Elevation – 600 m
The altitude increases from north to south
The altitude has no general pattern
Important Hills – Nilgiri, Anaimalai, Cardamom, Babubudan, etc.,
Important Hills – Javadi, Palkonda, Nallamala, Mahendragiri, etc.,
Important Peaks – Anaimudi (highest), Doda Betta, etc.,
Important Peaks – Mahendragiri (highest), Ooty, Kodaikanal, etc.
Most of the peninsular rivers originate here and acts as a water divide between west flowing and east flowing rivers.
They are dissected by major rivers like Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Cauvery, etc., which are draining into the Bay of Bengal
The Central Highlands
- The Central Highlands is a part of Peninsular Plateau lying north of R. Narmada covering a major area of Malwa plateau, Vindhyan Range covers the southern extent and Aravalis in the north-west.
- The Central Highlands are wider in the west and narrower in the east.
- The plateaus like Bundelkhand, Bagelkhand, Chotanagpur makes the eastern extension of the central highlands.
- The general elevation ranges between 700-1000 m and slopes towards north and north-eastern directions
- This region has undergone metamorphic processes in its geologic history, which can be corroborated by the presence of metamorphic rocks such as marble, slate, gneiss, etc.,
- Most of the ranges in this region are examples of relict mountains which are highly denuded and form discontinuous ranges (example: Satpura Range).
The North-Eastern Plateau
- It is an extension of the main peninsular plateau and it is believed that due to the force exerted by the north-eastward movement of the Indian plate at that time of the Himalayan origin a huge fault has been created between the two sides and later got filled up by the depositional activities of the rivers.
- This region consists of many plateaus like Meghalaya Plateau, Karbi Anglong Plateau, etc.,
- This plateau is rich in mineral resources and receives maximum rainfall from the south-west monsoon.
- Important Hills – Khasi, Garo, Jaintia, etc.,
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The Coastal Plains
- Plains are called "Food Baskets of the World", as they have fertile soil.
- They are classified into the following categories:
- Structural Plains
- Erosional Plains
- Depositional Plains
- The Peninsular plateau is covered by marine water in 3 sides: the Indian Ocean in the South; the Bay of Bengal in the east and the Arabian Sea in the West.
- The extent of coastline in the country is 6100 km in the mainland and 7517 km in the entire geographical coast of the country (including Islands).
- On the basis of the location and active geomorphological processes, it can be broadly divided into two: the Western Coastal Plains and the Eastern Coastal Plains.
WESTERN COASTAL PLAINS
EASTERN COASTAL PLAINS
It is an example of submerged coastal plain
It is an example of emergent coastal plain
The western coastal plain is narrower
Eastern coastal plain is broader
They are divided into Kathiawar coast, Konkan coast, Goan Coast and Malabar coast
They are divided into Northern Circar in the north and Coromandel coast in the south
The rivers flowing through this doesn’t form any delta
Well developed deltas can be seen here eg. Krishna – Godavari delta
Provides natural conditions for the development of harbours. Example – JNPT, Mumbai.
Most of the ports in this coastal plain are artificial in nature. Example – Chennai Port
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