Peninsular Plateau (Deccan Plateau) of India

Peninsular Plateau (Deccan Plateau) of India
Posted on 18-08-2023

Diverse Features and Regions of the Peninsular Plateau: A Geographical Overview

The Peninsular Plateau, often referred to as the Deccan Plateau, constitutes a highland formed from crystalline, igneous, and metamorphic rocks dating back to ancient times. It emerged due to the breakup and movement of the Gondwana continent, rendering it the Earth's oldest landmass. The plateau is distinguished by its extensive yet shallow valleys and rounded hills, comprising two main sections: the Central Highlands and the Deccan Plateau.

The Central Highlands encompass the region north of the Narmada River, extending over a significant portion of the Malwa plateau. The Vindhya range delineates the southern boundary, while the Aravalli range marks the western edge, and the Chota Nagpur Plateau forms the eastern border. Rajasthan's sandy and stony desert gradually merges with the plateau's western extension.

Noteworthy Characteristics of the Peninsular Plateau:

  • Encompassing an area of around 1.6 million square kilometers.

  • Averages an elevation of 600 to 900 meters above sea level.

  • Most rivers on the plateau flow from west to east, mirroring the overall slope of the landmass.

  • Notable exceptions include the Narmada and Tapti rivers, which flow east to west through fissures.

  • Among the world's oldest landforms, shaped by eons of geological processes.

  • Comprises various smaller plateaus, river basins, hill ranges, and valleys.

  • Features gently undulating hills and expansive shallow valleys.

  • Divided into two primary sections, each comprising subsidiary plateaus.

The Central Highlands includes:

  • The Malwa Plateau, bordered by the Vindhya Range to the south, the Aravalli Range to the west, and the Chota Nagpur Plateau to the east.

The Deccan Plateau is defined by:

  • The Satpura Range to the north, the Western Ghats hills to the west, and the Eastern Ghats hills to the east.

Significance of the Peninsular Plateau:

  • The plateau's rich natural resources contribute significantly to India's economic development.

  • It holds substantial deposits of valuable metals like iron, bauxite, mica, gold, and copper, found in mines such as Kolar, Bailadila, Singhbhum, and Korba.

  • Many of India's crucial coal mines, essential for industrial growth, are situated in the plateau, including Raniganj, Singareni, and Jharia.

  • The rugged topography provides ideal locations for hydroelectric plants, essential for economic progress. Notable plants include Srisailam and Koyna.

  • The Western and Eastern Ghats, forming the plateau's boundaries, boast diverse flora and fauna. Timber woods like Teak, Sandalwood, and Rosewood, including the globally recognized Nilambur teak, are present.

  • Stretching from Rajasthan to Assam in the east, flanked by the Sahyadris (Western Ghats) to the west and the Eastern Ghats to the east, it covers approximately 1.6 million square kilometers.

The plateau's topography consists of horizontal rock beds atop a stable base. Despite Earth's transformations, this stable landmass has endured, with denudation prevented by robust rocks. It's divided into smaller or larger plateaus with smooth, gently rounded tops. The remnants of the Aravalli hills or weathered elements of the plateau itself form the subordinate hills, while volcanic activity has deposited thick lava layers in certain regions.

The division between the Central Highlands and the Deccan Plateau is defined by the Narmada River's fault, with the northern half slanting northward and draining into rivers like Son, Chambal, and Ken. The southern half tilts eastward and is characterized by elevations, including the average elevation of 700 to 1000 meters in the Central Highlands.

In summary, the Peninsular Plateau, composed of ancient, hard rocks, holds historical, geological, and economic significance. With distinct sections and features, it has played a vital role in India's growth and development.

The Peninsular Plateau, commonly known as the Deccan Plateau, is characterized by its diverse topography and abundant natural resources, making it a crucial factor in India's economic development. The plateau can be divided into distinct sections, each contributing to its significance:

  1. Malwa Plateau: The Malwa Plateau is demarcated by the Vidhya Range to the south, the Aravalli Range to the west, and the Chota Nagpur Plateau to the east. This region spans Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan. It holds a dual drainage system, with rivers like the Narmada, Tapi, and Mahi flowing toward the Arabian Sea, and the Chambal and Betwa flowing toward the Bay of Bengal. Rich in black soil deposits and characterized by volcanic activity, the Malwa Plateau hosts notable mineral deposits such as iron, bauxite, mica, and more. Well-known mines like Kolar, Badiladia, Singhbhum, and Korba are situated here.

  2. Deccan Plateau: The Deccan Plateau is defined by the Satpura Range in the north, the hills of the Western Ghats in the west, and the hills of the Eastern Ghats in the east. This region is a geographical marvel and a repository of India's natural wealth. It contains valuable metal deposits and houses significant coal mines like Ranighanj, Singareni, and Jharia, essential for India's industrial growth. Hydroelectric plants, including Srisailam and Koyna, harness the potential of the plateau's river streams, contributing to economic development. The diverse flora and fauna along the Western and Eastern Ghats add to its ecological significance.

  3. Central Highlands: The Central Highlands comprise a significant portion of the Malwa Plateau and are distinguished by their rugged topography and rounded hills. The presence of minerals like diamonds, stones, and sandstone adds to its economic importance. Various rivers, including the Son, Chambal, Ken, and Betwa, carve their paths through this region, contributing to its dynamic drainage pattern.

  4. Chota Nagpur Plateau: The Chota Nagpur Plateau extends into Jharkhand, parts of Chhattisgarh, and West Bengal. Rich in Gondwana rocks, this plateau contains coal fields of paramount importance for energy production. The Damodar River flows through its midst, contributing to the development of the region's industries.

In conclusion, the Peninsular Plateau holds a prominent place in India's economic growth due to its abundant natural resources and varied geography. The plateau's divisions, including the Malwa Plateau, Deccan Plateau, Central Highlands, and Chota Nagpur Plateau, each play a unique role in contributing to the nation's mineral wealth, industrial development, hydroelectric power generation, and ecological diversity.

The Peninsular Plateau, a distinctive geographical feature, boasts several notable characteristics and divisions that contribute to its significance. Its features and regions are as follows:

Geographical Shape and Extent:

  • The plateau assumes an approximately triangular shape, with its base aligning with the southern boundary of North India's extensive plain. Its apex lies at Kanniyakumari.

  • Encompassing a substantial area of around 16 lakh sq km, the Peninsular Plateau plays a significant role in the Indian landscape.

Elevation and Slope:

  • The average elevation of the plateau varies between 600 to 900 meters above sea level, displaying variations across different regions.

  • The general slope of the plateau is from west to east, as indicated by the course of most of its rivers.

  • However, the Narmada and Tapti rivers are exceptions, flowing in an east-to-west direction through rifts.

Ancient Origin and Stability:

  • One of the Earth's oldest landforms, the Peninsular Plateau consists mainly of Archaean gneisses and schists, contributing to its stability.

  • Its geological stability is noteworthy, having undergone minimal structural changes since its formation.

Division and Minor Plateaus:

  • Comprising an amalgamation of smaller plateaus, hill ranges, valleys, and river basins, the plateau's landscape is intricate and diverse.

  • Several smaller plateaus are distributed within the larger Peninsular Plateau, each contributing to its distinctiveness.

Subdivisions of the Plateau:

  1. Marwar Plateau: This plateau is situated in eastern Rajasthan, marked by an elevation of 250-500 meters above sea level. Sandstone, shales, and limestones from the Vindhyan period constitute its geological composition. The Banas River, along with its tributaries, contributes to its erosion and rolling plain-like appearance.

  2. Central Highlands: Also known as Madhya Bharat Pathar, this region lies to the east of Marwar Upland. It mainly encompasses the Chambal River basin, featuring rounded hills composed of sandstone and extensive forests. The Chambal ravines to the north add to its distinctiveness.

  3. Bundelkhand Upland: Stretching across Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, this region is characterized by granite and gneiss formations. It showcases an undulating topography shaped by erosional forces of rivers like Betwa, Dhasan, and Ken.

  4. Malwa Plateau: Bounded by the Vidhya Range to the south, Aravalli Range to the west, and Madhya Bharat Pathar to the north and Bundelkhand to the east, the Malwa Plateau exhibits a dual drainage system. It holds extensive lava flows, black soils, and is defined by rolling hills and valleys. Notable rivers like Narmada, Tapi, Mahi, Chambal, and Betwa flow through it.

  5. Baghelkhand: Located north of the Maikal Range, Baghelkhand displays diverse rock formations such as limestones, sandstones, and granite. It serves as a water divide between the Son and Mahanadi river systems.

  6. Chota Nagpur Plateau: Extending into Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and West Bengal, this plateau is composed mainly of Gondwana rocks. It features radial drainage patterns and encompasses notable rivers like Damodar, Subarnrekaha, North Koel, South Koel, and Barkar.

  7. Meghalaya Plateau: Extending eastward beyond the Rajmahal Hills, the Meghalaya Plateau is characterized by its Garo Hills, Khasi-Jaintia Hills, and Mikir Hills. Various rivers define its drainage patterns, and it tapers toward the Nilgiri hills.

  8. Deccan Plateau: Encompassing an area of approximately five lakh sq km, the Deccan Plateau is bounded by the Satpura, Vindhya, Mahadev, Maikal, Western Ghats, and Eastern Ghats. Its elevation varies between 500 to 1000 meters and slopes from west to east.

  9. Maharashtra Plateau: Part of the Deccan Plateau, the Maharashtra Plateau is characterized by basaltic rocks, presenting a rolling plain-like topography. It is defined by river valleys such as Godavari, Bhima, and Krishna.

  10. Karnataka Plateau: Also known as the Mysore Plateau, this region displays an elevation of 600-900 meters and is dissected by numerous rivers originating from the Western Ghats. It features two distinct parts: Malnad and Maidan.

  11. Telangana Plateau: Comprising Archaean gneisses, the Telangana Plateau is situated at an elevation of 500-600 meters. It is divided into Ghats and Peneplains.

  12. Chhattisgarh Plain: The Chhattisgarh Plain, unique in the Peninsular Plateau, is a saucer-shaped depression drained by the upper Mahanadi River. Its elevation ranges from 250 meters to 330 meters and holds a historical association with the Haithaivanshi Rajputs.

In conclusion, the Peninsular Plateau stands as a diverse and intricate geographical formation, marked by various minor plateaus and features. Its numerous subdivisions contribute to India's rich geographical and geological landscape.


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