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The Physical Geography of South Asia

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  1. The Physical Geography of South Asia Coach Waldrip World Geography South Garland High School

  2. Part I: Landforms and Resources

  3. 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.

  4. The Himalayas

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Mount Everest

  8. K2

  9. Vindhya Range Deccan Plateau Western Ghats Eastern Ghats Southern Plateaus

  10. The Great Rivers • Indus River • Ganges River • Brahmaputra River

  11. 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.

  12. Offshore Islands • Two island groups are also countries of South Asia – Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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

  17. Part II: Climate and Vegetation

  18. Climate Zones • Tropical Wet • Tropical Wet and Dry • Desert • Semiarid • Humid Subtropical • Highland

  19. 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.

  20. Vegetation Zones • Tropical Rain Forest • Tropical Grassland • Desert and Dry Shrub • Temperate Grassland • Deciduous and Mixed Forest • Highland

  21. Part III: Human-Environment Interaction

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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

  25. 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.

  26. 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.