Geological History of India- Geography- Frontier IAS
Baljit Dhaka
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Geological History of India: Geography- Frontier IAS

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Geological History of India- Geography- Frontier IAS

The geological history of a country helps in understanding the types and characters of rocks and chemical and physical properties of soil and many other resources. In this article, we will discuss geological history of India. The geological history of India is diverse.

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Geological history of India:

  • The present physical form of Indian subcontinent is the result of vast geological formation.
  • In 1912 a German meteorologist named Alfred Wegener (1880 -1931) hypothesized a single proto-supercontinent named pangea that divided up into the continents.
  • Pangaea, therefore, means "all the Earth." Around the single protocontinent or Pangaea was a single ocean called Panthalassa (all the sea).

Breakup of Pangea:

  • In contrast to the present Earth and its distribution of continental mass, much of Pangaea was in the Southern hemisphere .
  • Pangea started to breakup into two smaller supercontinents, called Laurasia and Gondwanaland separated by Tethys Sea, during the late Triassic era, the first period of the Mesozoic Era which occurred between 251 million and 199 million years ago and also known as the “Age of Reptiles”.

Separation of Indian Plate:

  • By the end of Cretaceous period, the continents were separating into land masses that look like our modern day continents.

Collision of Indian Plate and Eurasian Plate:

  • India’s northward movement resulted into collision between Indian Plate and Eurasian Plate
  • After lateral movements between plates, Himalaya mountain originated.

Geological divisions of India:

India can be geologically divided into 3 parts:

  1. Peninsular Plateau
  2. Himalayan Ranges
  3. Indo- Ganga-Brahmaputra Plain

1. Peninsular Plateau:

  • The triangular shaped Peninsular Plateau of India extends from the south of Indo-Ganga Plain to the Cape Comorin (now Kanyakumari). 
  • This plateau is one of the oldest surfaces of the Earth and represents a segregated part of the old Gondwanaland.
  • It is a highly stable block composed mostly of the Archaean gneisses and schists {Rock System}.
  • It has been a stable shield which has gone through little structural changes since its formation.
  • Though, Peninsular Plateau is an aggregation of several smaller plateaus, hill ranges interspersed with river basins and valleys but can be broadly divided into two parts:
  1. Central Highland
  2. Deccan Plateau

2. The Himalayan Ranges:

  • After the collision of Indian plate with Eurasian plate, Tethys Ocean floor was completely subducted; most of the thick sediments on the Indian margin of the ocean were scraped off.
  • These scraped-off sediments are what now form the Himalayan mountain range.

  • The Himalayas stretch across the northeastern portion of India. 
  • They cover approximately 2,400 km and pass through the nations of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Bhutan and Nepal. 
  • The Himalayan range is made up of three parallel ranges often referred to as the Greater Himalayas, the Lesser Himalayas, and the Outer Himalayas (Shiwaliks).

3. The Indo-Ganga-Brahmaputra plains:

  • After the upliftment of Himalayas, northern movement of Indian Plate also created a trough to the south of Himalayas. 
  • The raising of Himalayas and subsequent formation of glaciers gave rise to many new rivers which supplied more alluvium to intensify the filling of the trough.
  • Gradually, the depression got completely filled with alluvium, gravel, rock debris (conglomerates) and the Tethys Sea completely disappeared leaving behind a monotonous aggradational plain. 
  • During the recent times (since few million years), depositional work of three major river systems viz., the Indus, the Ganga and the Brahmaputra have become predominant.

  • Indo-Ganga-Brahmaputra Plain is the largest alluvial tract of the world.
  • It stretches for about 3,200 km from the mouth of the Indus to the mouth of the Ganga. Indian sector of the plain accounts for 2,400 km.
  • The northern boundary is well marked by the Shiwaliks and the southern boundary is a wavy irregular line along the northern edge of the Peninsular India.
  • The western border of Indo-Ganga-Brahmaputra plains is marked by Sulaiman and Kirthar ranges. On the eastern side, the plains are bordered by Purvanchal hills.
  • The width of the plain varies from 150 km to 300 km.

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