Indo-Gangetic Plain

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Indo-Gangetic Plain


an alluvial plain in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, between the Himalayas in the north and the Deccan plateau in the south, approximately 3,000 km long and 250-350 km wide.

The Indo-Gangetic Plain is an alpine piedmont depression, filled with fragmented products from the contiguous Himalayan slopes and covered with old and recent alluvia. The plain has a flat surface, gently descending from a divide (at a height of 270 m) to the Indus and Ganges deltas. The plained relief is broken by protrusions of crystalline rock in the west and scarps of river terraces with heights of up to 60 m divided by ravines. The climate of the eastern part (Ganges and Brahmaputra basins) is subequatorial monsoon. A tropical climate prevails in the western region (Indus basin). Monsoon circulation weakens toward the west, and there is an increase in aridity of climate. Over large areas of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, average temperatures in July range from 30° to 36°C. Temperatures in January are approximately 20°C (in the northwest, 12°C). Temperature drops to 0°C occur. Annual totals of precipitation decline from 1,500 mm in the southeast to 100-150 mm in the southwest.

The river system is dense. Rivers are deep-water, especially in the east. The largest rivers are the Indus with its tributary the Sutlej (known as the Panjnad in its lower course), which collects waters from the Jhelum, Chenab, Beas, and Ravi rivers (in Punjab); the Ganges with the Jamuna and its powerful left tributaries the Gomati, Ghaghara, and Gandak; and the Brahmaputra. The rivers are characterized by considerable fluctuations in water discharge. Runoffs are greatest in the summer as a result of the impact of monsoons and thawing of mountain snows; destructive flooding is frequent. Alluvial soils with various textures predominate.

An increase in climate aridity from east to west has an effect on the nature of terrain. Thick mangrove and evergreen forests grow in the east in the Ganges and Brahmaputra deltas. Deciduous forests and savannas are found in central plain areas; in the west there are salt marshes and sandy deserts. Practically nothing remains of natural vegetation in central areas and in the east. The Indo-Gangetic Plain is one of the oldest centers of world civilization. Terrains of cultivated savannas prevail (fields of rice, wheat, millet, corn, cotton, and other crops) with separate groves of palms and fruit trees. Two natural regions are identified within its limits, the arid Indus Valley and the moister Ganges Plain.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
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In fact, normal rainfall in North-west India as well as the South Peninsula region is only 615 mm and 716 mm, respectively; meanwhile rapid underground depletion poses a real threat to rice-wheat cropping system in the entire Indo-Gangetic plain region.
They selected an agro-eco-region and a sub-region of the Indo-Gangetic Plain of India.
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Clusters of yellow lights on the Indo-Gangetic Plain reveal numerous cities large and small in this astronaut photograph of northern India and northern Pakistan.
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The even greater exposure of South Asia's Indo-Gangetic plain to Inner Asian invaders rendered political formation here an oscillating, even Sisyphean, process.
Once again, hardy and religiously motivated warriors would descend on the Indo-Gangetic plain bringing in their wake chaos and terror a foretaste of which was provided by the attack on Mumbai in 2008.

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