Physical Features of India

India has all major physical features of the earth, i.e., mountains, plains, deserts, plateaus and islands. India is a large landmass formed during different geological periods. A number of processes have created and modified the relief to its present form. These are external forces like weathering, erosion and deposition and internal forces like tectonic movement.

Weathering is the break down and alteration of rocks on the earth, due to their exposure to the atmosphere. Erosion is the wearing away of the landscape by different agents such as wind, water and ice. Weathered materials are transported and deposited through wind and water.

The outermost layer of the earth is broken into seven major and seven minor rigid pieces called plates. These plates are continuously moving in different directions and at different speeds. Most of the earth's seismic activity occurs at the plate boundaries as they interact. There are basically three types of plate boundaries, i.e., convergent boundary, divergent boundary and transform boundary.

Geologically, the Peninsular Plateau constitutes one of the ancient landmasses on the earth’s surface. it was a part of the Gondwana land. The Gondwana land included India, Australia, South Africa, South America and Antarctica as one single land mass The physical features of India can be grouped under the following physiographic divisions: the Himalayas, the Northern Plains, the Peninsular Plateau, the Indian Desert, the Coastal Plains and the Islands.

The Himalayas, geologically young and structurally fold mountains stretch over the northern borders of India. The Northern plains have been formed by the three major river systems, namely– the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra along with their tributaries.

The Peninsular plateau is a tableland composed of the old crystalline, igneous and metamorphic rocks. This plateau consists of two broad divisions, namely, the Central Highlands and the Deccan Plateau. The Indian desert lies in the western part of Rajasthan. It is an undulating sandy plain covered with sand dunes.

The Eastern Coastal Plain is a wide stretch of land lying between the Eastern Ghats and the oceanic boundary of India. The Western Coastal Plain is a narrow strip of land sandwiched between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, ranging from 50 to 100 km in width. The Lakshadweep and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are India's two major island formations and are classified as union territories, lying in the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea respectively.

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