The Physical Geography of South Asia Coach Waldrip World Geography South Garland High School
Mountains and Plateaus • The Himalayas are part of South Asia, a region that includes seven countries: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. • South Asia is sometimes called a subcontinent, a large landmass that is smaller than a continent. • In fact, it is often referred to as the Indian subcontinent because India dominates the region.
South Asia’s Size and Population • South Asia is about half the size of the continental United States, it has more than one billion inhabitants – one fifth of the world’s population.
Northern Mountains • Hindu Kush – mountains that lie at the west end of the Himalayas. • They form a rugged barrier separating Pakistan from Afghanistan to the north. • Karakoram Mountains – rise in the northeastern portion of the chain. • They are home of the world’s second highest peak – K2. • Himalayas – mountian range that contain the world’s highest mountains. • They stretch for 1500 miles and form a barrier between the Indian subcontinent and China. • Mt. Everest, the world’s tallest peak, sits at the heart of the Himalayas.
Vindhya Range Deccan Plateau Western Ghats Eastern Ghats Southern Plateaus
The Great Rivers • Indus River • Ganges River • Brahmaputra River
Fertile Plains • The rivers play a key role in supporting life in South Asia. • The Indo-Gangetic Plain is one of the most fertile farming regions in the world and also the most heavily populated part of South Asia. • The area contains about three-fifths of India’s population.
Offshore Islands • Two island groups are also countries of South Asia – Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
Sri Lanka: The Subcontinent’s “Tear Drop” • Sri Lanka is a large, tear-shaped island country. • It has lush tropical land of great natural beauty. • Dominating the center of the island is a range of high, rugged mountains. Video: Sri Lanka
The Maldives Archipelago • The Maldives comprise an archipelago, or island group, of more than 1,200 small islands. • The islands are the low-lying tops of submerged volcanoes, surrounded by coral reefs and shallow lagoons. • This type of island is called an atoll. • The total land area of the Maldives is 115 square miles. • Only about 200 of the islands are inhabited.
The Maldives Archipelago • The Maldives comprise an archipelago, or island group, of more than 1,200 small islands. • The islands are the low-lying tops of submerged volcanoes, surrounded by coral reefs and shallow lagoons. • This type of island is called an atoll. • The total land area of the Maldives is 115 square miles. • Only about 200 of the islands are inhabited. Video: The Maldives
Natural Resources • South Asia relies heavily on its soil and water for farming, fishing, transportation, and power. • Timber • Coal • Petroleum • Uranium • Iron-ore • Diamonds • Sapphires • Rubies
Climate Zones • Tropical Wet • Tropical Wet and Dry • Desert • Semiarid • Humid Subtropical • Highland
Monsoons and Cyclones • Although climate varies in South Asia, the region as a whole is greatly affected by monsoons, or seasonal winds. • The most extreme weather pattern of South Asia is the cyclone – a violent storm with fierce winds and heavy rain.
Vegetation Zones • Tropical Rain Forest • Tropical Grassland • Desert and Dry Shrub • Temperate Grassland • Deciduous and Mixed Forest • Highland
The Ganges River • The Ganges River is the most well-known of all the South Asian rivers. • It flows for more than 1500 miles from its source in a Himalayan glacier to the Bay of Bengal. • To Hindus, the river is not only an important waterway, but it is also a sacred river. It is the earthly home of the Hindu goddess Ganga.
A Sacred River • The Ganges provides water for drinking, farming, and transportation. • The Ganges is known as “Gangamai,” which means “Mother Ganges”. • It is a sacred river that brings life to people. Many Hindus believe the water has healing powers. • People come from all parts of the world to drink and bathe in its waters. • They also scatter the ashes of deceased family members on the river.
A Polluted River • Unfortunately, the Ganges is one of the most polluted rivers in the world. • Millions of gallons of raw sewage and industrial waste flow into the river. • The bodies of dead animals and even human corpses float on the water. • As a result, the water is poisoned with toxic chemicals and deadly bacteria. The Polluted Ganges River
Controlling the Feni River • The Feni River in Bangladesh has caused tremendous hardships with its flooding. • In the 1980s, engineers proposed building an earthen dam for the Feni. • Bangladesh is a very poor country with limited technology and the cost of building would be enormous.
Completing the Dam • The project emphasized the use of cheap materials and low-tech procedures. • The test to see fi the dam would work came three months after completion when a cyclone (storm surges) hit the dam and the dam held.