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Landforms and Resources

Most of the seven South Asian countries of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives are located on the Indian subcontinent, or large landmass that is a part of a continent.

Landforms and Resources (cont.)


The Hindu Kush, the Karakoram, and the Himalaya Mountains form South Asias northern edge and separate the subcontinent from the rest of Asia.
The Himalaya range is the highest mountain system in the world and includes Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world, in Nepal.

Landforms and Resources (cont.)


The most famous of the passages through the mountains is the Khyber Pass between Afghanistan and Pakistan, a passageway to India for trading caravans and armies.
About 60 million years ago, the South Asian subcontinent was part of the same landmass as Africa.

Landforms and Resources (cont.)


The Indus River begins in Tibet, China, and flows through Pakistan to the Arabian Sea.
The Ganges flows from the Himalaya through Indias Ganges Plain, a vast lowland with some of the countrys richest soil and home to about 40 percent of Indias population. It is considered to be a holy river in South Asia.

Landforms and Resources (cont.)


The Ganges River runs through Bangladesh where it combines with the Brahmaputra River to form the worlds largest delta, or soil deposit at the mouth of a river.
The Himalaya mountain range blocks the rain after it sweeps over the GangesBrahmaputra delta.

Landforms and Resources (cont.)


At the base of the subcontinent are two chains of eroded coastal mountainsthe Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats. Between them lies a highland area known as the Deccan Plateau.

Landforms and Resources (cont.)


The Western Ghats block seasonal rains from reaching the plateau, leaving it and western Pakistan - extremely dry because it can receive little or no yearly rainfall.
The Karnataka Plateau south of the Deccan Plateau receives these rains instead, so the hills there are lush and green. Elephants, and other animals, move through the dense rain forests here.

Landforms and Resources (cont.)


Sri Lanka, a teardrop-shaped island nation, lies off the southeast coast of India.
Maldives, which lies off Indias western coast, is one of the smallest countries in the world. Maldives includes about 1,200 islands, though people live on only about 200 of them.

Landforms and Resources (cont.)


Many of the islands are atolls, circularshaped islands made of corala rocklike material formed from the skeletons of tiny sea creatures.

Landforms and Resources (cont.)


India has most of the regions mineral resources, such as chromite which is used in making steel. Pakistan has large amounts of limestone, which is used for making concrete. Hydroelectricity is an important energy source for the region. These plants provide power and also control flooding, which is a serious problem for South Asians.

Environmental Concerns
Most of South Asias land was cleared centuries ago, but many of the forests that remain are now being cut down to provide building materials and fuel for heating and cooking. Wood is the source of about 70% of Nepals energy.
People need the cleared land for crops, so trees are rarely replanted after they are cut down, even though the clearing of trees has led to erosion and flooding.

Environmental Concerns

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However, to meet their energy needs, most of the countries of South Asia rely heavily on imported oil Air pollutioncaused by automobile exhaust in the cities and by burning wood, kerosene, charcoal, or animal dung for heating and cooking in the rural areasis another challenge in parts of South Asia. Air pollution is so severe that a brown cloud of chemicals, ash and dust has formed over the Indian Ocean.

Monsoons
Much of South Asia experiences three distinct, or unique, seasonshot, wet, and coolwhich depend on seasonal winds called monsoons.
In the low-lying delta of Bangladesh, monsoons often cause devastating floods that kill people and livestock, ruin crops, destroy homes, and wipe out roads.

Monsoons (cont.)
Another kind of weather disaster often strikes South Asia.
A cyclone is a storm with high winds and heavy rains. A severe cyclone hit Indias northeast coast in 1999 with winds of more than 160 mph (257 kph). It killed nearly 10,000 people.

Climate Zones
In the north and the west of South Asia, the climates vary greatly, ranging from cold in the highlands of the Himalaya to intensely hot in the deserts around the Indus River. One of these deserts the Thar Desert is surrounded by steppe.
Much of south central India has a tropical dry climate, with a short wet season and a long dry season.

Climate Zones

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South Asias tropical regions have the heaviest rainfalls from the wet monsoons. Most of Bangladesh gets 100 inches (254 cm) of rain per year.
The city of Cherrapunji in northeastern India receives an annual rainfall of up to 450 inches (1,143 cm), making it one of the wettest spots on Earth.

Climate Zones (cont.)


The wet monsoons do not reach the lower Indus River area, which stays dry and windswept. The climate becomes humid and subtropical north to the Ganges Plain.
This area has high temperatures, with muggy summers but fairly dry winters.