Geography and History of the World © 2010 Indiana Edition
Physical Geography of South Asia
The subcontinent of South Asia is separated from the rest of Asia by mountains
and forms a distinct landmass. The region has varied landforms and climate regions
dominated by monsoons.
The Land South Asia is touched by three bodies of water—the Arabian
Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Bay of Bengal. The tallest mountains of the world,
including the Himalaya, are in the north. Other ranges separate plateaus, and
islands lie off the tip of India. Three major river systems—the Brahmaputra,
Indus, and Ganges—are the key to life in the region, providing alluvial
soil, drinking water, transportation, and hydroelectric power. Although the
region has petroleum reserves, South Asia relies on other energy sources and
imported oil. Other resources include mica, graphite, and timber.
Climate and Vegetation Most of South Asia has tropical and subtropical
climates with diverse vegetation, including rain forests and savannas. Little
vegetation can survive in the higher altitudes of the highlands, while in more
temperate zones trees flourish. Dry climates are found along the lower Indus
River and on the Deccan Plateau. Seasonal winds called monsoons determine the
three seasons of the regions. Areas outside the path of the monsoons receive
little or no rainfall. The rains of the monsoons and other violent storms can
Earthquakes and tsunami’s are also hazards in the region. In October 2005, 70,000 people died in Pakistan and Kashmir from an earthquake. In December 2004, 30,000 people in Sri Lanka were killed by a tsunami.