a system of individual mountain massifs and ranges in the central part of the Himalayas, between the Great Himalayas on the north and the Siwalik Range on the south. Length, about 2,000 km; width, from 10-20 km in the east to 100 km in the west.
The Lesser Himalayas are composed of Paleozoic and Mesozoic crystalline, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks (primarily schists, limestones, and quartzites). Elevations of 3,000-3,500 m prevail, with the greatest elevations being up to 6,000 m. The mountains are dissected by narrow, steep-walled valleys. Traces of ancient glaciation have been preserved in many ranges. The snow line is at an elevation of 4,500 m in the east and 5,000 m in the west. There are small glaciers on the northern slope of the Pir Panjal Range. The Lesser Himalayas have a dense river network (primarily tributaries of the Ganges). The rivers have a high-water period in the summer, caused by monsoon rains and the melting of mountain snow. The slopes are covered with forests at altitudes up to 3,500 m; there are monsoon forests and hard-leaved evergreen and coniferous forests in the west and evergreen tropical rain forests giving way with greater elevations to evergreen oak forests, coniferous and broadleaf forests, and coniferous forests in the east. Above this are thickets of scrub junipers and rhododendrons, subalpine meadows, and alpine meadows. Plantations of citrus fruits and tea grow at elevations up to 2,500 m.
L. I. KURAKOVA