I. Landforms and Resources A. Subcontinent B. Mountains C. River Systems D. Islands E. Resources I can…. 1. Explain how mountains and bodies of water have isolated the continent. 2. Describe the three great river systems Terms Indo-Gangetic Plain Subcontinent Khyber Pass Alluvial Plains Atolls
Subcontinent – a large landmass smaller than a continent South Asia is sometimes called a subcontinent, more specifically the Indian Subcontinent because India dominates the region. South Asia is about half the size of the United States but has more than a billion people living there. (One fifth of the World’s Population)
It is isolated because of the mountains to the north and water to the south. South Asia is a peninsula. It extends south to the Indian Ocean, and is bordered by the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. 50 Million years ago South Asia was actually part of East Africa, when it split off and drifted northward. It collided with Central Asia. The gradual collision of tectonic plates forced the land upward into enormous mountain ranges. These ranges are still rising.
The Himalaya, the Karakoram, and the Hindu Kush form a mountainous barrier between the subcontinent and the rest of Asia. Invaders, however, used crossing places, such as the Khyber Pass, to enter the region.
The Himalayas are a system of parallel mountain ranges. They contain the world’s highest mountains. Mt. Everest is the highest peak. They stretch 1500 miles and form a barrier between South Asia and China. These mountains dominate the landlocked countries of Nepal & Bhutan.
The large low land the stretches across northern India and into Bangladesh is known as the Indo-Gangetic Plain. It is formed by three great river systems: the Indus, the Ganges, and the Brahmaputra. All of the rivers have origins in the Himalayas. The Ganges and Brahmaputra eventually meet and form one huge river. When the rivers overflow their banks, they deposit this soil on alluvial plains, lands that are rich farmlands. This area is densely populated.
Two island groups are also countries of South Asia – Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Sri Lanka is a tear drop shaped island of rich tropical beauty that was once was part of the subcontinent The Maldives is a chain of coral atolls and volcanic outcroppings.
Atolls are low lying tops of submerged volcanoes, surrounded by coral reefs and shallow lagoons.
Resources from the region include water, rich soil, timber, uranium (Nuclear), mica (electrical equipment), Iron ore (steel), and other various minerals. Sri Lanka has precious gems. South Asia has some oil and natural gas reserves, but most of the region depends largely on hydroelectricity, wood, coal, and imported oil as sources of fuel.
II. Climate and Vegetation A. Climate 1. Dry 2. Highland 3. Tropical B. Vegetation C. Seasonal Weather 1. Monsoons I can… 3. Describe the climatic variations due to elevation and rainfall totals Terms Cyclones Monsoons
Although much of the subcontinent lies south of the Tropic of Cancer there is a wide variety of climate zones. Ranging from the Highland Climate of the Himalayas to the Desert Climate of Southern Pakistan.
Dry climates, Of Pakistan and Western India, produce the Great Indian Desert and the surrounding steppes. The Eastern Part of the Region experiences a tropical savanna climate, with wet and dry seasons and a humid subtropical climate The west coast of India, the Ganges Delta, and southern Sri Lanka have tropical rain forest climates. The mountainous Northern region has a highland climate.
Vegetation varies from Conifers in the Highlands to harsh desert plants. In the tropical part of this region lush rainforest of teak ebony and bamboo can be found.
This region is greatly affected by monsoons (seasonal winds). Cyclones ( a violent storm with fierce winds and heavy rains) also frequent this region, and can be very destructive to the low lying costal region.
Meteorologists using modern technology are working to predict the annual monsoons. Accuracy in predicting the monsoons will help people protect their property and lives from storm damage.
Both the high temperatures of the hot season and the heavy rains of the wet season have positive and negative effects. Extremely high temperatures and lack of rain can dry out the soil, causing drought. Too much rain caused by monsoons brings floods and results in great damage to land and property, as well as loss of human life.
III. Human Environment Interaction A. Overusing the Land B. Loving the Ganges too much C. Tracking the Weather I can… 4. Discuss how the people of South Asia have adapted to their environment (seasonal weather patterns that present challenges) Terms Cyclones Monsoons
South Asia combines high population density with fragile ecosystems. Scientists are studying ways to combat South Asia’s severe air pollution problem
Much of South Asia’s population has limited access to clean water. For example, 80 percent of India’s population has no access to sanitation facilities. Under such conditions, untreated sewage pollutes water supplies that people depend on for normal daily use.
Many Bengali people live on islands made of layers of silt floating on the surface of coastal water. In heavy rains these layers break up, and people lose their homes, their possessions, and even their lives. Studies of this erosion may lead to solutions and help save lives. The Feni a small river in Bangladesh is prone to flooding. Cyclones bring high waters called storm surge, that rushes up the river onto flat coastal lands. The solution to the problem was to build a dam but the river was a mile wide and the country was poor. The country used man power and got help from Dutch engineers. Bangladesh now has the largest estuary in South Asia.
To Hindus the Ganges River is not only an important water source but it is also a sacred river. It is the home of the Hindu Goddess Ganga. Many temples and sacred sites line the banks of the Ganges. Stone steps lead down to the water and pilgrims from all over the world come to drink from and bathe in its water. At Varanasi (one of the most sacred sites) there is a daily celebration held in the waters of the Ganges as the sun rises.
After centuries of intense human use the Ganges has become polluted. Since 1986 the government has tried to reverse the damage however it still remains a huge problem.