51 The Secret of the Himalayas: Ecology, Climate, And Geology

The Himalayas(In Fact)

  • The Himalayas, or Himalayas (Hima “snow”, aa-laya “dwelling”, “dwelling”), are a mountain range in Asia that separates the plains of the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau.
  • The mountain range contains some of the highest peaks on the planet, including the tallest, Mount Everest. More than 100 peaks above 7,200 meters (23,600 ft) are found in the Himalayas.
  • In contrast, the highest peak outside Asia (Aconcagua in the Andes) is 6,961 m (22,838 ft) high.
  • The Himalayas cross or cross five countries: Bhutan, India, Nepal, China, and Pakistan. The sovereignty of the mountain range in the Kashmir region is disputed between India, Pakistan, and China.
  • The Himalayas are bordered by the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush ranges to the north-west, the Tibetan Plateau to the north, and the Indo-Gangetic Plain to the south. Some of the world’s major rivers, the Indus, the Ganges, and the Bhramputra, originated near the Himalayas. There are about 600 million people in their confluence basin; 53 million people live in the Himalayas.
  • The Himalayas deeply shaped the culture of South Asia and Tibet; Many peaks of the Himalayas are sacred in Hinduism and Buddhism.
  • Raised by the subduction of the Indian tectonic plate beneath the Eurasian Plate, the Himalayas stretch in an arc of 2,400 kilometers (1,500 mi) from west-northwest to east-southeast.
  • Its western anchorage, Nanga Parbat, is located south of the northernmost bend in the Indus. Its eastern anchorage, Nanchabawa, is located on the west side of the Brahmaputra. The width of the range varies from 350 kilometers (220 mi) in the west to 150 kilometers (93 mi) in the east.

Geographical Structure Of Himalayan Mountain

The Himalayas

The Himalayas consist of parallel mountain ranges:

– Shivalik Hills to the south;

– Lower Himalayan Range;

– The Great Himalayas,

  • Which is the highest and central range; And the Tibetan Himalayas to the north. The Karakoram is generally considered to be different from the Himalayas.
  • In the middle of the huge curve of the Himalayas is the 8,000 m (26,000 ft) peak of Dhaulagiri and Annapurna peaks in Nepal, separated by the Kali Gandaki Gorge. The thunder has divided the Himalayas ecologically and geographically into western and eastern divisions – Kora Hall at the top of Kali Gandaki is the lowest point of the mountain range between La Everest and K2 (the highest peak in the Karakoram range). Annapurna is 8,000 meters (5.0 miles) east of Manaslu and across the border to Tibet, Shisapangma.
    1. To its south is Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal and the largest city in the Himalayas.
    2. To the east of the Kathmandu Valley lies the Vote / San Kosi River Valley which rises in Tibet and provides the mainland route between Nepal and China – the Arnico Highway / China National Highway 318. Further east is the Mahalangur Mountains with the six highest mountains.
    3. The four highest mountains in the world: Cho Wu, Everest, Lhotse, and Makalu. The Khumbu region, popular for trekking, is found here on the southwestern side of Everest. The Arun River flows south to the northern slopes of these mountains before flowing eastwards towards Makalu.
    4. To the east of Nepal, the Himalayas rise to the Kanchenjunga Massif on the Indian border, the third highest mountain in the world, the highest peak 8,000 meters (26,000 feet) east, and the highest point in India.
  • The eastern part of Kanchenjunga is located in the Indian state of Sikkim. Formerly an independent state, it is located in Tibet via Nathu La Pass on the main road from India to Lhasa, Tibet. Bhutan is an ancient Buddhist kingdom located east of Sikkim. The highest mountain in Bhutan is the Ganges Puensam, which is also a strong competitor for the highest mountain in the world.
  • The Himalayas here are becoming increasingly rough in the steep valleys of dense forests. The Himalayas begin to move somewhat northeast through Tibet, along with the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, before reaching the eastern conclusion at the Namche Barwa peak in Tibet, in the vast bend of the Yarlung Tsangpo River. On the other side of Sampo, to the east is the Kangri Garpo Mountains. However, the high mountains north of Tsangpo, including Gyala Peri, sometimes including the Himalayas.
  • Going west from Dhaulagiri, Western Nepal is far away and lacks large high mountains, but Rara Lake, the largest lake in Nepal. The Karnali River originates in Tibet but flows through this region.
  • Further west, the border with India follows the Sharda River and provides a trade route to China, including the highest peak of Gurla Mandhata in the Tibetan Plateau. From here, across Lake Mansarovar, the Kailash class includes the sacred Kailash Range, located near the source of the four major rivers in the Himalayas and revered in Hinduism, Buddhism, Sufism, Jainism, and the jungle. In the newly formed state of Uttarakhand in India, the Himalayas reappeared as the Kumaon Himalayas with Nanda Devi and the high peaks of the comet.
  • The state also has important pilgrimage sites of Chardham, including Gangotri, the source of the holy river Ganga, Yamunotri, the source of the river Jamuna and the temples of Badrinath and Kedarnath.
  • The Kumaon Himalayas is regionally divided into two parts – the Kumayun Hills in the Kumaon Division and the Garhwal Hills in the Garhwal Division.
  • The next Himalayan Indian state, Himachal Pradesh, is famous for its hill stations, especially Shimla and Dharamsala, the summer capitals of the British Raj, the center of the Tibetan community, and the government-in-exile in India. The region marks the beginning of the Punjab Himalayas, and the Sutlej River, the easternmost of the five tributaries of the Indus, flows through its range. Further west, the Himalayas form the southern part of Jammu and Kashmir and most of Ladakh, which is disputed between India and Pakistan but is governed by India. 
  • The only mountain in this part of the Himalayas is the twin peaks of Nun Kun above 7,000 meters (4.3 mi). Next to it is the famous Kashmir Valley and the city and lake of Srinagar. Eventually, the Himalayas reach the dramatic 8,000-meter peak of Nanga Parbat at its western end, which is 8,000 meters (26,000 ft) above the Indus Valley and the westernmost of the 8,000-meter peaks.
  • The western end ends at a spectacular point near Nanga Parbat where the Himalayas lie in the disputed Pakistan-administered region of Gilgit-Baltistan, including the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush ranges. Parts of the Himalayas, such as the Kagan Valley, the Margalla Hills, and the Galyat Tract, extend into the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces of Pakistan.

Geology Characteristics of Himalayas

  1. The Himalayas are one of the smallest mountain ranges on the planet and are composed mostly of elevated sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. According to modern theories of plate tectonics, its formation is the result of a continental collision or orogeny along the converging boundary (the original Himalayan thrust) between the Indo-Australian Plate and the Eurasian plate.
  1. The clashes created the Aramaic Yoma Highlands in Myanmar and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal. During the high Cretaceous about 70 million years ago, the north-facing Indo-Australian plate (which later broke into the Indian plate and the Australian plate) was moving at a speed of about 15 cm (5.9 inches) per year.
  1. About 50 million years ago, this fast-moving Indo-Australian plate completely closed the Tethys Ocean, the existence of which is determined by the sedimentary rocks at the bottom of the ocean and the volcanoes that surround its shores.
  1. Since both plates are composed of low-density continental crust, they were folded into thrust faults and mountain ranges instead of being attached to the mantle by a marine trench. One of the most frequently quoted information to describe this process is that the summit of Mount Everest is made of marine limestone from this ancient ocean.
  1. Today the Indian plate is moving horizontally over the Tibetan plateau, forcing the plateau to move upwards. The Indian plate is still moving at a speed of 67 mm per year and in the next 10 million years it will travel about 1,500 kilometers (930 mi) across Asia. About 20 mm of Indo-Asian convergence is absorbed each year by pruning in the southern part of the Himalayas.
Himalayas Nature
  1. This leads the Himalayas to rise by about 5 mm per year, which makes them geologically active. The movement of the Indian plate over the Asian plate also makes the region seismically active, resulting in occasional earthquakes.
  1. In the last ice age, there was a combined glacial ice flow between Kangchenjunga in the east and Nanga Parbat in the west. In the west, the glaciers join the ice flow network of the Karakoram, and in the north, they join the interior ice of East Tibet. In the south, outflow glaciers end at altitudes of 1,000–2,000 m (3,300–6,600 ft). Although the maximum length of glaciers in the present Himalayan valley is 20 to 32 km (12 to 20 mi), several major valley glaciers during the Ice Age were 60 to 112 km (37 to 70 mi) long. Glacier snowfall (the altitude where glacier accumulation and extinction are balanced) was about 1,400–1,660 m (4,590–5,450 ft) lower than it is today. Thus, the climate was at least 7.0 to 8.3 °C (12.6 to 14.9 °F) cooler than it is today.

Glacier Creation

The vast range of Central Asia, including the Himalayas, contains the world’s third-largest ice and snow deposits, after Antarctica and the Arctic. There are about 15,000 glaciers in the Himalayas, which store about 12,000 km (3,900 cu mi) of freshwater.

  • Its glaciers include Gangotri and Yamunotri (Uttarakhand) and Khumbu Glacier (Mount Everest region), Langtang glacier (Langtang region), and Jemu (Sikkim). Due to the latitude of the mountains near the Tropic of Cancer, the permanent snow line is the highest in the world, usually around 5,500 m (18,000 ft). In contrast, the equatorial mountains of New Guinea, the Ravenjoris, and Colombia receive about 900 m (2,950 ft) of less snow.
  • Despite being close to the tropics, the higher ranges of the Himalayas are covered with snow throughout the year and are the source of many large perennial rivers. In recent years, scientists have observed a significant increase in the rate of retreat of glaciers across the region as a result of climate change.
  • For example, over the past few decades, glacial lakes have been rapidly forming on the surface of glaciers covered in Bhutanese Himalayan debris. Although its effects have not been known for many years, it could be a potential disaster for the millions of people who depend on glaciers to feed rivers during the dry season. Global climate change will affect water resources and livelihoods in the greater Himalayan region.
Himalayas Glaciers

Effect Climate over Himalayan

  • The sheer size, a vast range of heights, and complex topography of the Himalayas mean that they experience a wide range of climates, from humid subtropical in the foothills to cold and dry desert conditions on the edge of Tibet.
  • For most of the Himalayas – the most characteristic feature of the climate – in the south of the high mountains, except in the far west, is the monsoon. The southwest monsoon brings heavy rainfall in June and lasts till September. Monsoon can severely affect transportation and cause major landslides.
  • This restricts tourism – the trekking and mountaineering seasons are limited to April/May before the monsoon or October/November (autumn) after the monsoon. In Nepal and Sikkim, five seasons are often considered: summer, monsoon, autumn, (or post-monsoon), winter and spring.
  • Using the Köppen climate classification, the low altitudes of the Himalayas, reaching the middle altitudes of central Nepal (including the Kathmandu Valley), are classified as Siwa, a humid subtropical climate with dry winters. High, most of the Himalayas have a subtropical highland climate (Cwb).
  • In the far west of the Himalayas, west of the Kashmir Valley, and the Indus Valley, the South Asian monsoon is no longer the dominant cause and most of the rainfall occurs in the spring. Srinagar receives about 723 mm (28 in) of rainfall, about half as much as Shimla and Kathmandu, where the wettest months are March and April.
  • The northern part of the Himalayas, also known as the Tibetan Himalayas, is dry, cold and generally, the wind blows especially west, which has a cold desert climate. Plants are scattered and immobile and are extremely cold in winter. Most of the precipitation in the region comes in the form of snow at the end of winter and in the spring months.
  • The local influence on the climate in the Himalayas is significant. The temperature drops by 0.2 to 1.2 °C per 100 m (330 ft) of elevation. It gives rise to a wide range of climates, from tropical climates to tundra and permanent snow and ice at high altitudes. The local climate is also influenced by topography: there is less rainfall at the foot of the hill when there is heavy rainfall on a well-exposed slope, and the rain shadow of large mountains can be significant, for example in near-desert peaks. situation occurs.
  • The Mustang, which is protected from monsoon rains by the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri masses, receives about 300 mm (12 in) of rainfall annually, while the southern part of the massif receives heavy rainfall (3,900 mm or 150 per year). Thus although annual rainfall is usually higher in the east than in the west, local changes are often more significant.
  • The Himalayas have a profound influence on the climate of the Indian subcontinent and the Tibetan Plateau. They block the dry, arid winds that blow south across the subcontinent, keeping South Asia warmer than the temperate regions of other continents. It also blocks the monsoon winds, preventing them from moving north and causing heavy rainfall in the Terai region.
  • The Himalayas are believed to have played an important role in the formation of Central Asian deserts such as the Taklamakan and the Gobi. Accelerated ice loss in the Himalayas over the past 40 years has been proven by satellite imagery. Even if the ambitious target of 1.5 °C is achieved, Himalayan glaciers will lose a third of their surface area.

Ecology

Ecology
  • Flora and Fauna:-

The flora and fauna of the Himalayas mountain vary with climate, rainfall, altitude, and soil. The climate ranges from tropical to permanent snowfall at the base of the mountains and snowfall at the highest altitudes.

  • Variation in altitude:-

The amount of annual rainfall increases from west to east along the southern front of the range. This variation in altitude, rainfall, and soil conditions supports a wide variety of plant and animal communities found along a very high snow line.

  • At higher altitudes:-

The high altitude (low atmospheric pressure) with extreme cold is conducive to extreme climates. At higher altitudes, the elusive and already endangered snow leopard is the main predator. Its prey includes members of the goat family that graze in alpine pastures and rocky areas, especially the local bharal or Himalayan blue sheep.

  • Rare and endangered:-

Himalayan musk deer are also found at higher altitudes. Hunted for its musk, it is now rare and endangered. Other endemic or near-native herbivores include the Himalayan tahr, takin, Himalayan serow, and Himalayan gargle. Critically endangered Himalayan subspecies of brown bears are found scattered throughout the range, as are the Asiatic black bears. In the mountainous mixed deciduous and coniferous forests of the eastern Himalayas, the red panda feeds on bamboo bushes. Many different primates live in the foothills of the foothills, including the endangered Gee golden langur and the Kashmir gray langur, which are restricted to the east and west of the Himalayas respectively. The unique flower and animal resources of the Himalayas are undergoing structural and structural changes due to climate change.

Hydrangea hirta is an example of a flowering species found in the region. Rising temperatures are shifting different species to higher altitudes. The oak forest is being attacked by the deodar forest in the Garhwal Himalaya region. Early flowering and fruiting have been reported in some tree species, notably rhododendron, apple, and box myrtle. The most famous tree species in the Himalayas is Juniperus tibetica, which is located at 4,900 m (16,080 ft) in southeastern Tibet.

Eastern Himalayan

The eastern Himalayas range from eastern Nepal to northeastern India, Bhutan, Tibet Autonomous Region to China, and Yunnan in northern Myanmar. The climate of this region is affected by the monsoon of South Asia from June to September. It is a biodiversity hotspot with significant bio-cultural diversity.

Eastern Himalayan Panda

Geological Structure

  • The Eastern Himalayas have a much more sophisticated topographic history and wider topographical features than the Central Himalayas. The Singalila Ridge, in the southwest of the Sub-Himalayas, is located on the western edge of a group of highlands in Nepal.
  • Most of the Sub-Himalayas are in Nepal; A small part has reached Sikkim in India and a part in the southern part of Bhutan. The geography of the region has, in part, facilitated the rich biodiversity and ecosystem composition of the region.
  • The Baksa Range of Indo-Bhutan is also a part of the ancient rocks of the Himalayas. The ancient folds, mainly running along an east-west axis, were eroded during the Cretaceous, probably during prolonged erosion over a hundred million years.
  • At this time Carboniferous and Permian rocks disappeared from the surface, leaving long trenches north of Hatisar in Bhutan and from the Jaldhaka River to the Torsa River, where limestone and coal are stored in separate basins.
  • Limestone deposits are also found in Bhutan at the southern tip of the lower Himalayas. The highland rocks are mainly sandstone of the Devonian period, including limestone and shale from the same period.
  • The main center of the mountain is uncovered, where Paleozoic rocks, mainly Cambrian and Silurian slate, and Takhtsang Guinness outcrops are visible to the northwest and northeast, the latter extending to Arunachal Pradesh in western India. In the Mesozoic era, the entire dilapidated plateau was under the sea. In this vast shallow sea, which covers most of Assam and Bhutan, chalk is deposited by sea tides between land and sea level. Next time, a third rock was placed.
  • The Paro transition belt is found at some places above the Chasilkha-Soraya Guinness. Elsewhere the Silurian metamorphosis suggests a prolonged eradication of the surface. It was during the Alpine Mountains and formed a large number of “active volcanoes” that served as the backbone of the Himalayas and most of the movement in the Paleozoic region was probably associated with it. The Chomolhari Tourmaline Granite of Bhutan extends westward from Paro Chu and adds great depth to the present surface floor, forming during rising, fall, and fall.

Climate of Eastern Himalayan

  • The climate of the eastern Himalayas is similar to that of the tropical mountain ecosystem. The tropical rainforest climate is warm and humid throughout the year, with no dry season at the foot of the Koppen Climate Classification System (AF) and predominantly cold winters at high altitudes.
  • The warm season begins in mid-April and reaches its highest temperature in June and ends in late August. The average summer temperature is usually 20 ° C (68 ° F). The average annual rainfall is 10,000 mm (390 inches). 
  • Heavy snowfall is rare, and it is also unusual at high altitudes. This belt of the Himalayas is humid because it receives more rainfall than the arid western Himalayas. In the Rangita, Teesta, and Chumbi valleys, the highest rainfall in winter takes the form of snowfall.
  • Due to the accumulation of snow in the valley, the winter temperature in this region decreases a lot. The northeast monsoon is the main feature of the climate in the eastern Himalayan region, where cold season rainfall is more important on the southern slopes.

Agriculture Activity Occur in Eastern Himalayan

The condition of agriculture changed throughout the region. The highland soil is moraine, and the mountain slopes are cut by the local people in successive steps or steps a few meters wide, thus obstructing the flow of water and allowing spring crops to grow. The region’s economy depends heavily on variable agriculture, supplemented by hunting, fishing, and exchange trade. Agriculture does not have enough produce to meet the local demand. Due to lack of capital, access to investors, or entrepreneurial knowledge, the economy of the region was in a stagnant and dilapidated state for many centuries. The inhabitants relied heavily on wild and semi-cultivated species for food and herbal medicines.

Western Himalayan

The Western Himalayas refers to the western half of the Himalayas, extending from Badakhshan/ South Tajikistan in northeastern Afghanistan, Pakistan to northwestern India. It is also known as the Punjab Himalayas. In the Punjab region, five tributaries of the Indus (Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas, Sutlej) originate from the western Himalayas.

Himalyas Galicer 1

The western Himalayas include the Zanskar Range, the Pir Panjal Range, and parts of the Dhauladhar Range and Shivalik Range, and the Great Himalayas. The highest point is the Nanga Mountains (26,660 feet or 8,126 meters) at the northwestern edge of the region.

Ecology of Western Himalayan

Western Himalayan broadleaf forests:-

  • The broad-leaved forest of the Western Himalayas is a temperate broad-leaved and mixed forest environment found at moderate elevations in the western Himalayas, including parts of Nepal, India, and Pakistan.
  • The ecoregion forms an area of ​​temperate broad-leaf forest covering 55,900 square kilometers (21,600 square miles) in a narrow band between 1,500 and 2,600 meters (4,900 to 8,500 feet) high, from the Ugratachdakki River in Nepal to the Himalayas in Nepal. And Jammu and Kashmir in northern India are divided into parts of northern Pakistan.
  • This ecoregion is arid and the forest is more fragmented than the broad-leaved forest of its eastern Himalayas, which receives more moisture from the monsoon rains of the Bay of Bengal but is still a valuable habitat especially as part of the habitat found at various heights in the Himalayan mountains.
  • Many species of birds and animals migrate seasonally from the grasslands of the plains up and down the hills to the high peaks. At low altitudes, this ecoregion becomes the Himalayan subtropical pine forest. At higher altitudes, it becomes the western Himalayan subalpine conifer forest as well as the northwestern Himalayan alpine shrubs and grasslands and the western Himalayan alpine shrubs and grasslands.

Flora

The broad-leaved forests of the western Himalayas can be divided into two types of forests: evergreen and deciduous broad-leaved forests.

The evergreen broadleaf forest is dominated by oak, including Quercus semecarpifolia, Quercus leucotrichophora, Quercus floribunda, Quercus lanata, Quercus glauca, and Quercus baloot. This forest is usually found on the humid southern slope, which is more affected by the monsoon. The forest is home to several Loras, including Machilas odoratisima, Litsea umbrosa, Litcia lanuginosa, and Phoebe palcherima. The Understory has a rich collection of ferns, algae, and epiphytes. On the northern slopes, in arid regions, and at higher altitudes, conifers such as Abyss, Passi, Cedras, and Pinus grow. Wild olives, Olea cuspidata are also found here.

To the west of the Gandaki river, deciduous forests are found along the river. It contains various Acer species like Aesculus indica, Juglans regia, Carpinus viminea, Alnus nepalensis, and Acer caesium, Acer acuminatum, Acer cappadocicum, Acer lobelia subsp. Pictum, Acer Abalangam etc. are available. In arid regions such as the upper Ghaghara river valley, it is dominated by Populus Ciliata, Ulmas Valichiana, and Corylus colurna, and on the banks of the river by the Himalayan Alder (Alnus nitida).

Fauna

  • Although wildlife is less here than in the humid eastern Himalayas, this ecological region is home to six species of mammals.
  • These include the Asiatic black bear, leopard, Himalayan tahr, and the endangered Himalayan serow (Makar Thar).
  • There is a native mammal, the Kashmir cave bat (Myotis Longinus) while the endangered Peter’s tube-nosed bat (Murina Graecia) is almost native.
  • Western tragopan (Tragopan melanocephalus), Sattar tragopan (Tragopan Satara), Kochlas pheasant (Pucrasia macrolofa), Himalayan implantosphosan (Procrasia macrolofa 31) were recorded. (Caterius Wallachia).
  • Local birds near the forest include the white-cheeked tit, white-throated tit, spectacled finch, Kashmir flycatcher, titular leaf-warbler, orange bullfinch, and the Kashmir nuthatch, where the Himalayan quail, which used to be found here, is now extinct.

Conservation

  • The Himalayas receive a large number of visitors every year including religious pilgrims and trekkers.
  • Although there are a large number of protected areas, each of them is quite small and most of the original forest has been cleared for deforestation or agricultural land, an ongoing process.
  • With only one-third left untouched, the largest patch remains west of the ecoregion, and clearing of any forest along these steep hills causes rapid soil erosion and excess salinity in the rivers below.
  • Protected areas of the region include the Askot Musk Deer Sanctuary, and parts of the Govinda Pashu vihar Wildlife Sanctuary, the Rupi Bhaba Sanctuary, and the larger Kishtwar National Park.

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