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HIMALAYA

Nepali Himalaya, great mountain system of Asia forming a barrier between the Plateau of Tibet to the north and the alluvial plains of the Indian subcontinent to the south. The Himalayas include the highest mountains in the world, with more than 110 peaks rising to elevations of 24,000 feet (7,300 meters) or more above sea level. One of those peaks is Mount Everest, the world’s highest, with an elevation of 29,035 feet (8,850 meters; see Researcher’s Note: Height of Mount Everest. The mountains’ high peaks rise into the zone of perpetual snow.

For thousands of years the Himalayas have held a profound significance for the peoples of South Asia, as their literature, mythologies, and religions reflect. Since ancient times the vast glaciated heights have attracted the attention of the pilgrim mountaineers of India, who coined the Sanskrit name Himalaya—from hima (“snow”) and alaya (“abode”)—for that great mountain system. In contemporary times the Himalayas have offered the greatest attraction and the greatest challenge to mountaineers throughout the world.

The ranges, which form the northern border of the Indian subcontinent and an almost impassable barrier between it and the lands to the north, are part of a vast mountain belt that stretches halfway around the world from North Africa to the Pacific Ocean coast of Southeast Asia. The Himalayas themselves stretch uninterruptedly for about 1,550 miles (2,500 km) from west to east between Nanga Parbat (26,660 feet [8,126 meters]), in the Pakistani-administered portion of the Kashmir region, and Namjagbarwa (Namcha Barwa) Peak (25,445 feet [7,756 meters]), in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Between those western and eastern extremities lie the two Himalayan countries of Nepal and Bhutan. The Himalayas are bordered to the northwest by the mountain ranges of the Hindu Kush and the Karakoram and to the north by the high and vast Plateau of Tibet. The width of the Himalayas from south to north varies between 125 and 250 miles (200 and 400 km). Their total area amounts to about 230,000 square miles (595,000 square km).

Nepali Himalaya, great mountain system of Asia forming a barrier between the Plateau of Tibet to the north and the alluvial plains of the Indian subcontinent to the south. The Himalayas include the highest mountains in the world, with more than 110 peaks rising to elevations of 24,000 feet (7,300 meters) or more above sea level. One of those peaks is Mount Everest, the world’s highest, with an elevation of 29,035 feet (8,850 meters; see Researcher’s Note: Height of Mount Everest. The mountains’ high peaks rise into the zone of perpetual snow.

For thousands of years the Himalayas have held a profound significance for the peoples of South Asia, as their literature, mythologies, and religions reflect. Since ancient times the vast glaciated heights have attracted the attention of the pilgrim mountaineers of India, who coined the Sanskrit name Himalaya—from hima (“snow”) and alaya (“abode”)—for that great mountain system. In contemporary times the Himalayas have offered the greatest attraction and the greatest challenge to mountaineers throughout the world.

 

 

The ranges, which form the northern border of the Indian subcontinent and an almost impassable barrier between it and the lands to the north, are part of a vast mountain belt that stretches halfway around the world from North Africa to the Pacific Ocean coast of Southeast Asia. The Himalayas themselves stretch uninterruptedly for about 1,550 miles (2,500 km) from west to east between Nanga Parbat (26,660 feet [8,126 meters]), in the Pakistani-administered portion of the Kashmir region, and Namjagbarwa (Namcha Barwa) Peak (25,445 feet [7,756 meters]), in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Between those western and eastern extremities lie the two Himalayan countries of Nepal and Bhutan. The Himalayas are bordered to the northwest by the mountain ranges of the Hindu Kush and the Karakoram and to the north by the high and vast Plateau of Tibet. The width of the Himalayas from south to north varies between 125 and 250 miles (200 and 400 km). Their total area amounts to about 230,000 square miles (595,000 square km).

FOUR DIVISION OF HIMALAYA

• Karakoram Himalaya
• Western Himalaya
• Central Himalaya
• East Himalaya

KARAKOM HIMALAYA

The Karakoram is a large mountain range spanning the borders of Pakistan, India, and China, with the northwest extremity of the range extending to Afghanistan and Tajikistan. It begins in the Wakhan Corridor (Afghanistan) in the west and encompasses the majority of Gilgit–Baltistan (Pakistan) and extends into Ladakh (India), and the disputed Aksai Chin region controlled by China. It is the second highest mountain range in the world, and part of the complex of ranges including the Pamir Mountains, the Hindu Kush and the Himalayan Mountains. The Karakoram has eight summits over 7,500 m (24,600 ft) height, with four of them exceeding 8,000 m (26,000 ft). K2, the second highest peak in the world at 8,611 m (28,251 ft).

The range is about 500 km (311 mi) in length, and is the most heavily glaciated part of the world outside the Polar Regions. The Siachen Glacier at 76 kilometers (47 mi) and the Biafo Glacier at 63 kilometers (39 mi) rank as the world’s second and third longest glaciers outside the Polar Regions.

The Karakoram is bounded on the east by the Aksai Chin plateau, on the northeast by the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, and on the north by the river valleys of the Yarkand and Karakash rivers beyond which lie the Kunlun Mountains. At the northwest corner are the Pamir Mountains. The southern boundary of the Karakoram is formed, west to east, by the Gilgit, Indus, and Shyok rivers, which separate the range from the northwestern end of the Himalaya range proper. These rivers flow northwest before making an abrupt turn southwestward towards the plains of Pakistan.

WESTERN HIMALAYA

The Western Himalaya, which includes the regions of Kumaon, Garhwal, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir in India displays a complete cross-section of the Himalayan organic belt encompassing the principal tectonic zones of Outer Himalaya, Lesser Himalaya, Higher Himalaya, Tethys Himalaya, and Trans Himalaya. The rock formations of the Lesser Himalaya, which are co relatable to those of the northern part of the Indian Peninsular shield, represent deposits on the northern edge of the Indian craton. The Phanerozoic sequence of the Tethys Himalaya zone is interpreted as representing sedimentary deposits of the continental margin. The Central Crystal lines of the Higher Himalaya zone, underlying the Phanerozoic sequence of the Tethys Himalaya zone, have been exposed in their present position as a result of uplift and southward movement along the Main Central Thrust. The Trans-Himalaya zone consists of the Indus Suture, Ladakh magmatic arc, Shyok Suture and Karakoram subzones. The Nidar ophiolite and the Shergol and Zildat ophiolitic melanges of the Indus Suture are the tectonised remnants of the Tethys ocean floor. The Ladakh plutonic complex, the Dras volcanic and other related Cretaceous volcanic belong to the plutonic-volcanic series of the Ladakh magmatic arc. The Shyok Suture is interpreted as a back-arc basin, and the Palaeozoic-Mesozoic sequence of the Karakoram subzone represents continental margin deposits of the Karakoram block. The molasses sedimentary deposits of the Outer Himalaya zone are interpreted as representing post-collision sedimentation in a trough that developed in front of the rising Himalaya.