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India- A Nation of diverse Physical Zones & Culture

Category : All, Education · by Mar 27th, 2015

Physical Geography of India #3

In this part we discuss about Indian climate, islands, wetlands, diverse Indian Soil & Natural Resources in brief.

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Indian Island


  • The Lakshadweep Islands lie 200 to 300 km (120 to 190 mi) off the coast of Kerala in the Arabian sea with an area of 32 km2 (12 sq mi).
    • consist of twelve atolls, three reefs, and five submerged banks, with a total of about 35 islands and islets.
  • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are located between 6° and 14° north latitude and 92° and 94° east longitude.
    • consist of 572 isles, lying in the Bay of Bengal near the Burmese coast. They are located 1,255 km (780 mi) from Kolkata (Calcutta) and 193 km (120 mi) from Cape Negrais in Burma.
    • The territory consists of two island groups, the Andaman Islands and the Nicobar Islands.
    • Consists of 204 small islands across a total length of 352 km (219 mi).
    • India’s only active volcano, Barren Island is situated here. It last erupted in May 2005. The Narcondum is a dormant volcano and there is a mud volcano at Baratang.
    • The highest point is Mount Thullier at 642 m (2,106 ft).

Other significant Islands

  • Include Diu daman, a former Portuguese enclave;
  • Majuli, a river island of the Brahmaputra;
  • Elephanta in Bombay Harbour; and
  • Sriharikota, a barrier island in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Salsette Island is India’s most populous island on which the city of Mumbai (Bombay) is located
  • Fortytwo islands in the Gulf of Kutch constitute the Marine National Park

Water bodies

  • India has around 14,500 km of inland navigable waterways.
  • 12 rivers are classified as major rivers, with total catchment area exceeding 2,528,000 km2
  • All major rivers of India originate from one of the three main watersheds:
  1. The Himalaya and the Karakoram ranges

  2. Vindhya and Satpura range in central India

  3. Sahyadri or Western Ghats in western India

  • The Himalayan river networks are snowfed and have a perennial supply throughout the year.
  • Other two river systems are dependent on the monsoons and shrink into rivulets during the dry season.
  • The Himalayan rivers that flow westward into Pakistan are the Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej
  • The GangesBrahmaputraMeghana system has largest catchment area of about 1,600,000 km2 .
  • The Ganges originates from the Gangotri Glacier in Uttarakhand; The Yamuna and Gomti rivers also arise in the western Himalayas and join the Ganges in the plains.
  • The Brahmaputra originates in Tibet, China, where it is known as the Yarlung Tsangpo River (or “Tsangpo”). It enters India in the fareastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, then flows west through Assam. The Brahmaputra merges with the Ganges in Bangladesh
  • The Western Ghats are the source of all Deccan rivers, which include the Mahanadi River, Godavari River, Krishna River and Kaveri River, all draining into Bay of Bengal.


  • Widely distributed from the cold and arid located in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, and those with the wet and humid climate of peninsular India.
  • The Indian government has identified a total of 71 wetlands for conservation.
  • Mangrove forests are present all along the Indian coastline in sheltered estuaries, creeks, backwaters, salt marshes and mudflats. The mangrove area covers a total of 4,461 km2 (1,722 sq mi),which comprises 7% of the world’s total mangrove cover.

Indian Climate

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    Climatic Zone of India (Source)

    Based on the Köppen system: India hosts six major climatic subtypes, ranging from arid desert in the west, alpine tundra and glaciers in the north, and humid tropical regions supporting rainforests in the southwest and the island territories.

  • The nation has four seasons:
    1. winter (January– February),

    2. Summer (March–May),

    3. a monsoon (rainy) season (June–September) and

    4. a postmonsoon period (October–December)

Indian Soil

  • Classified into 8 categories: alluvial, black, red, laterite, forest, arid & desert, saline & alkaline and peaty & organic soils.
  • Alluvial soil constitute the largest soil group in India, constituting 80% of the total land surface
  • Black soil are developed in Deccan lava region of Maharashtra, Gujarat, & Madhya Pradesh.
  • Red soil are found in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka plateau, Andhra plateau, Chota Nagpur plateau and the Aravallis.
  • Laterite soils are formed in tropical regions with heavy rainfall; are generally found in Western ghats, Eastern ghats and hilly areas of northeastern states that receive heavy rainfall.
  • Forest soils occur on the slopes of mountains and hills in Himalayas, Western Ghats and Eastern Ghats.

Indian Natural Resources

  • Total renewable water resources are estimated at 1,907.8 km3/year.
  • Annual supply of usable and replenshable groundwater amounts to 350 billion cubic metres.
  • Groundwater supplies 40% of water in India’s irrigation canals. 56% of the land is arable and used for agriculture.
  • Forest soils are used for tea and coffee plantations.
  • Red soil have a wide diffusion of iron content.
  • Most of India’s estimated 5.4 billion barrels (860,000,000 m3) in oil reserves are located in the Mumbai High, upper Assam, Cambay, the KrishnaGodavari and Cauvery basins.
  • India possesses about 17 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Orissa.
  • Uranium is mined in Andhra Pradesh.
  • India has 400 medium to high enthalpy thermal springs for producing geothermal energy in seven “provinces” — the Himalayas, Sohana, Cambay, the Narmada Tapti delta, the Godavari delta and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  • World’s biggest producer of mica blocks and mica splittings.
  • Second amongst the world’s largest producers of barites and chromites.
  • Third largest coal producer in the world
  • Ranks fourth in the production of iron ore
  • Fifth largest producer of bauxite and crude steel,
  • Seventh largest of manganese ore and the eighth largest of aluminium.
  • Significant sources of titanium ore, diamonds and limestone.
  • Possesses 24% of the world’s known and economically viable thorium, which is mined along shores of Kerala.
  • Gold had been mined in the now defunct Kolar Gold Fields in Karnataka.

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