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Stratigraphy of India

Physiographic Division of India

The broadest geomorphic divisions of India,

Peninsular India

Peninsular Shield.
Extra Peninuslar
Indo-gangetic alluvial

Peninsular India.

It is triangular
plateaus lying to the
south of the Indogangetic alluvial plain.
South of Vindhyan

The other units, known as the extra-peninsular

area, lie at the northern extremity of the country.

It is made up of the
mighty Himalayan
ranges and their
extenstion into
Bulchistan on the one
hand, Burma and
Arkan on the other

The extensive IndoGangetic alluvial plains

stretching across
northern India from
Assam, Bengal on the
east, through Bihar and
U.P to the Punjab and
Sindhu on the West.
Its lie in between the
Peninsular and ExtraPeninsular regions.

Peninsular: is made
up of very ancient
rocks of Precambrian
age. The ancient
rocks have been
metamorphosed to
varying degrees

Extra-Peninsular: The
mountain ranges
forming the extrapeninsular. It made up
primarily of sedimentary
formation ranging in age
form Cambrian to
The core of the
Himalayan mountains is
made up of granite
Tertiary age.

alluvial plane: have
been formed only
during the quaternary
era. They are made
up of Sand, Clay and
peat beds.

The peninsular may be
regarded as very stable land
masses. It has not been
affected by tectonic revolution
of post cambrian age.
The extra-peninsular have
been affected by several
orogenic movement, leading to
the development of the
complex Himalaan mountain
during the Tertiary era.
Indo-gangetic alluvial plain
made up of undisturbed layers
of recent sediments, which
have been deposited gradually
in a very large depression
laying in between the
peninsular and extra

Physical features
Peninsular is a very ancient
stable land, which has been
eroded continuously since its
formation. The mountain
ranges are remnants of the
ancient plateau and rivers
have for obvious reasons
attained their base level
Extra peninsular is made up of
young mountains ranges. The
youthful river of this
physiographic units are now in
action in grading their courses.
Indo-gangetic alluvial plains
are very extensive stretches of
low land with a very small
gradient towards the sea.

India, Pakistan and
Burma together have
an area of over
3,03, 84,000 sq.km.
India 2,03,36,000
Kanyakumari to the
north of Kashmir
3200 km
West to east from
Bulchistan to Burma

India and Pakistan

streach between N
Latitude 8o & 37o and
E Longitude 61o &

The northern part of the country, that beyond the

latitude of Calcutta and Ahamadabad, lie to the
north of the tropic of Cancer.
The mountain barrier of the Himalayan plays an
important part not only in influencing the distribution
of rain in northern India. but also in preventing this
region from experiencing the very cold winters
characterising the territories to their north.
The SW monsoon regions from the end of MayDecember, the earlier half being the general rainy
The NE monsoon is active during the cold weather
but the winds are dry before they blow over the Bay
of Bengal.

During the succeeding months of March to May,

the temperature rises steadily to a maximum, the
interior of the country registering 42 deg. To 49
deg. In early May.
Deccan plateau falls in the rain-shadow of the
Western Ghats and hence receives only a small
amount of rain.
Western Ghats receives over 250 cm of rain
during the monsoon where as the shadow region
gets only 60 cm or less.
The winds sweeping up through the Bay of
Bengal strike the Arkan and Assam hills, the later
forcing the winds up to an altitude of some 5000
feet when all their moisture content is precipitated
as rain.

Rainfall map of India.

The neighborhood of
Cherrapunji is know to
receive the highest
rainfall in the World.
Average rain is about
1150 cm per year. The
maximum recorded being
2300 cm in 1861.
SW Punjab, Western
Rajputana, Sind and
Bulchistan constitute a
region of very low rainfall
(below 25 cm per annum)

Western Ghats:
These forms a well
marked features along the
western coast of India
from the Tapi Valley down
to Cape Comorin. It is
nearly 1600 km long. Their
average elevation is from
1000 1300 mts. But
many peaks rise to over
2400 mts. Eg.
Doddabetta 2636m,
Mukurti 2,554m in the
Anaimudi- 2693m in the
Anaimalais and
Vembadi shola 2505m in
the Palani hills.

Chief mountains of Peninsular India are:

Western Ghats
Eastern Ghats
Vindhyas ranges
Satpuras ranges
Aravallis ranges

Eastern Ghats:
A series of rather
detached hill ranges of
composition which stretch
internittently form the
northern boarders of
Orissa through the coastal
regions of the
AndraPradesh to join the
Niligiries in the western
portion of the Madras.
They are uniform in their
character in Orissa and in
the northern part of Andra
Pradesh down to the
Valley of Krisna River,

being composed of
granitiferous sillamanite
geneiss (Khondalite) and
large masses of

Eastern Ghats:
Their Average elevation is
about 750 m, but few
points rise to over 1500 m.
Banksamo 1274 in
Mimaigiri 1515m in
Malayagiri- 1186m Pal
Meghasani-1164m in
Mankarnacha-1109 in
Mahendragiri 1500m in

Vindhyas Mountain:
Which separate southern from Northern India
are a fairly continuous group of hill ranges,
lying to the north of the Narmada river and
through Indor, Bhopal, Baghalkhand and
The general elevation is 450, but a few places
rise above 900m.
The majority of the range are composed of
Sandstone and Quartzite of Vindhyan System.

Satpura Mountain:
Name was applied orignally to the hills in the
Nimar district of Mahya Pradesh, which
separated the Narmada and Tapi Rivers.
The Satpuras are composed of several more
or less parallel ridges of Deccan trap lava flows.
Their northern slopes are drained by the
Narmada river and Southern slopes by the
Waingang, Wardha and Tapi rivers.

Aravalli Mountain:
Mountains are now the remnant of once great
mountain ranges of tectonic origin.
They cross Rajasthan from South-West to
north-east separating the arid semi desert of
the Bikaner, Jodhpur and Jaisalmar area on
the west from the more fertile region of
Udiapur and Jaipur on the east.
Composed of rocks of the Aravalli, Delhi and
Vindhyan systems.

Major Rivers:
Damodar, Brahmani,
Subarnarekha, Mahanandi,
Godavari, Krishna, Pennar,
Cauvery and Tambarapani
which flow into the Bay of
Bengal, while the Narmada
and Tapi flow in to the
Arabian sea. Banas, Lumi,
Chambal, Sindh, Betwa,
Southern Tons, Kan and
Sone are Peninsular river of
Northern India belonging to
the Ganga System

The Indian Rivers :

The characteristics of the
rivers of India differ with
the physiographic
characteristics. The rivers of
India may be divided into
two large divisions on the
basis of their drainage
1. The Peninsular Indian
2. The Extra-Peninsular Indian

Rivers of Peninsular India :

The rivers of the Peninsular India originate
on the Western Ghats. The Western Ghats
receive heavy rainfall from the southwest
monsoon. Hence, there is flow of water in
the rivers only during the season of
In the dry seasons, the rivers become dry,
too. It is because of this, the rivers of the
Peninsular India are 'nonperennial rivers'.
The rivers that originate among the
Western Ghats drain the Peninsular

The plateau has slopes from west to east.

Hence, most rivers of the Peninsular India flow
eastwards and join the Bay of Bengal. Of the
east flowing rivers, the most important ones are
the Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery.
The Cauvery originates at the Kodagu Hills of
Karnataka, traverses the state of Tamil Nadu
and then joins the Bay of Bengal. In the districts
of Tiruchchirappalli and Thanjavur, the river has
created a vast delta. The Godavari and Krishna
rivers make Andhra Pradesh rich.

Rivers of Extra-Peninsular India :

o Most of the rivers traversing the ExtraPeninsular India originate on the Himalayas. The
Himalayas are lofty mountains. Hence, there are
glaciers on the Himalayas.
o The Extra- Peninsular rivers receive their waters
from these glaciers. Also, in the season, there is
water from the rainfall for these rivers.
o It is because of this the Extra-Peninsular Indian
rivers have water flows all through the year. As
such, these rivers are called the 'perennial

Of these Extra-Peninsular rivers, the Ganges are

the most significant. The Ganges has created a
vast plains at the foot of the Himalayas.
Originating on the Himalayas, the Ganges
reaches the plains at Haridwar.
This holy river has tributaries such as the
Yamuna and the Kosi.
Before draining into the Bay of Bengal, the
Ganges gives rise to a number of distributaries
and creates a vast delta.
A large part of this delta is in Bangladesh. This
river connects the Calcutta Port with the sea.

The two rivers, the Indus and the Brahmaputra,

that originate on the Himalayas drain only a very
small area. A vast area of the Indus is in
The Sutlej, which is a tributary of the Indus, runs
in the northwest border areas.
Bakra-Nangal, which is the largest of the dams
in Asia, has been constructed across the Sutlej.
The state of Punjab has benefitted greatly from
this dam.
A major portion of the river Brahmaputra is in
Tibet. This river runs through the Assam Hills
and turns into the Indian territories. Further, it
reaches into Bangladesh.

Numerous waterfalls in the
Western Ghats, many of
them small, only 6-9m high
and generally found in the
course of the wesernly
flowing streams.
Jog Falls on the Sharavathi
river, Shivamoga,
comprising four magnificent
falls called Raja, Rocket,
Roarer and Dama (Rani)
arranged on a curve and
having a sheer drop of

Jog falls

Falls on the Cauvery
river, a series of
cascades about 90m
high, are well known
since they were the first
fall in India to be
harnessed for Power.

Other falls:
Pykara falls in Niligiris- Utilised for hydroelectric
Gokak falls, on the Gokak river, Belgaum.

Yenna falls near Mahabaleswar, have a drop of

Dhuandhara falls near Jabalpur only 9m high.

Tectonic divisions
Subdivided into tectonic
units of smaller order.
Each of these tectonic
units is characterised by
its own set of geological
features. Thus, a tectonic
units often overlapped the
neighboring tectonic unit
during a certain interval of
geological time.

Peninsular India.
Extra- Peninsular India.
Indo-gangetic alluvial

Indian Shield
Precambrian basement
is predominantly made
up of the granitic
gneisses and
migmatites. (PG)
It has been delineated
into four sub-units
according to their
characteristic of
structural trends that
are well reflected in the
orographic trends of
these regions.

The sub-units are:

Eastern Ghats
Aravalli and
The structural trend of these sub-units are the
results of often more than one orogenic events.
The Dharwar trend resulted in at least two or
possibly three distinct orogenic cycle.
The Eastern ghats, the Aravalli and the Satpura
trends were also formed during two or more
orogenic cycles.

Proterozoic cover
Rocks are exposed in the
southern Peninsula in the
Cuddapah depression.
The depression seems to
have covered a major
parts of Southern
Peninsula. In the
northwestern Peninsula,
the lower proterozoic
basin of geosynclinal type
are Area of Delhi
The middle and upper
proterozoic succession
were deposited in a great
basin is called as
Vindhyan syncline.

Proterozoic cover
Bundelkhand Massif:
rocks were laid directly
cover the Precambrian
It comprises granitic
gneisses and migmatites
similar to the Peninsular
The Vindhyan syneclise is
also considered to have
extended northwards into
the Lesser Himalayan
region where the rocks of
the basin have undergone
a tertiary orogenic

Upper Palaeozoic and Mesozoic Succession

The lower palaeozoic rocks
is conspicuously absent
from the Indian Peninsula.
Thick succession of Upper
Palaeozoic and Mesozoic
rocks deposited in three
great graben type basin
Mahanadi graben
Godavari graben.
Sedimentary rocks of these
grabens are grouped into
Gondwana sequence know
for its rich coal deposits.

Cenozoic cover
The greater part of
northern-western and
southern eastern peninsula
was under marine
transgressive basin during
Mesozoic and Cenozoic
eras. A great thickness of
marine rocks were
deposited in these
continental shelves,
Rajasthan self
Saurastra kutchch self.
oil pro. Paleog-Neoge

Cenozoic cover
The south eastern coastal region
is demarcated into three shelves
Thanjavur shelf
Godavari shelf
Cuttack shelf
Precambrian basement
The Indian shield exposed as the
shillong massif and the Mikir hill
massif in the northeastern India
is overlain by palaeogene and
Neogene successions in the
North Shillogn shelf.
Upper Assam Shelf.
The shelves comprise a
Precambrian basement and an
oil- Producing PalaeogeneNeogene cover.

Extra-Peninsular India
Is composed of the
Himalayan mountain
ranges in the north and the
Arakan-Yoma in the east.
The ranges are made up of
the Tertiary mountain belts
and the frontal foredeep
folded belts.
The Himalaya belt extend
for a total length of about
2400 km from Nanga
Parbat in the west to
Namcha Barwa in the East.
Himalaya is further
subdivided into the three
longitudinal tectonic
geomorphic zones

The Lesser Himalayan

The Central Crystalline
zone of the Higher
Himalayan zone and
The Tethyan Himalayan

Tethyan (Tibetan) Himalaya

It consist of thick, 10-17km,
marine sediments that were
deposited on the continental
shelf and slope of the Indian
continent. This occured as
India was drifting but still in
the southern hemisphere
(Verma 1997). Sediments are
largely unmetamorphosed,
which has made for excellent
preservation of fossils and
occur in synclinorium-type
basins. However, have
experienced greenschist
facies deformation (Windley

Tethyan (Tibetan) Himalaya

Fossils occur in this eastwest zone within strata that
are very clearly known. The
large variety of size and
distribution of fauna suggest
that life was flourishing in this
area before the orogen. Such
success in biological diversity
is accounted for by the
relatively stationary position
of the Tehthyan Zone
between mid-Proterozoic and
Eocene time.

Higher (Greater) Himalayas

The Higher Himalayas
are also known as the
Central Crystalline zone,
comprised of ductily
deformed metamorphic
rocks and mark the axis
of orogenic uplift. Mica
schist, quartzite,
paragneiss, migmatite,
and leucogranite bodies
characterize this
uppermost Himalayan

Higher (Greater) Himalayas

Corresponding minerals
assemblages are dominated
by biotite to sillmanite,
representing greenschist to
amphibolite facies deformation.
Deformation seems to have
occurred in a north to south
direction and is associated with
the Main Central Thrust Fault
(MCT), which brings the higher
Himalayas on top of the lower
Himalayas (Sorkhabi 1999).
Initially, it was thought that
approximately 350km of
shortening had occurred in the
Greater Himalayan sequence
of rocks.

Higher (Greater) Himalayas

As a result, it is now estimated
that between 600 and 650km of
shortening occurred here. There
was also a question of
provenance for Great
Himalayan rocks. Previous work
suggested that lower Indian
crust comprised this area. New
interpretations of rocks there
indicate that the higher
Himalayas are actually made of
supercrustal rock. This idea
states that upper crustal
material of India accreted
northward onto the Asian
continent and that crustal
material was origanlly an
appendage of India that was,
itself, accreted to India during
Paleozoic time.

Lesser (Lower) Himalayas

The Lesser Himalayan zone is
bounded the Main Central
Thrust(MCT) in the north and
Main Boundary Thrust(MBT) to
the south.
Unlike the higher Himalayas,
the lessers only experienced up
to greenschist facies
The rock types present here are
also different. They are primarily
sedimentary rocks from the
Indian platform. Rock units here
also show a series of anticlines
and synclines that are in many
cases quite sheared.
Fossils have been documented
in this zone, but they do not
occur at the same frequency as
Tehtyan zone fossils.

view of Himalyan zones: cross section modeled after

DeCelles (1998). It not only shows geological
divisions within the mountain belt, but also structures
and geologic relationships between rock types and
structures. It is effective in showing relative motion
along faults.

Indo Gangetic Alluvial Plain

It is a deep crustal trough
filled with Quaternary
sediments. It origin and
structure are closely related
with the rise of the Himalaya.
Maximum thickness of the
sediments is encountered
along its northern fringes
near the foredeep folded belt
of Siwalik hills.
It is divided into four shelf
areas separated from one
another by three transversse
highs (burried hills). The
highs are known, from west
to east, as Delhi-Haridwar
Ridge, Faizabad Ridge and
Monghyr-Saharsa Ridge.

Indo Gangetic Alluvial Plain

Delhi-Haridwar ridges is
composed of a Precambrian
basement overlain by a
succession of Plaaeogene
and Neogene sediments.
Faizabad ridges are made up
of Precambrian basement
overlain by Vindhyan rock
and Neogene sediments.
Monghyr-Saharsa ridges
contains in its succession the
rocks of Gondwana age and
elements of Rajmahal Traps.