India and the Himalayas Lessons
The Indian subcontinent is a peninsula that juts southward from the rest of Asia like an enormous arrowhead. The subcontinent is a self-contained landmass because it is separated from the rest of Asia by the enormous Himalayan Mountains. While it is a distinct landmass, the Indian subcontinent is not large enough to be considered a continent. Our study of the Indian subcontinent will also include the mountainous nations of Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. The region also includes Sri Lanka, an island nation off the southern coast of India.
The Indian subcontinent is part of a tectonic plate that has been moving for more than 200 million years. The plate was once attached to Africa, Australia and Antarctica. It separated and collided with Asia 50 million years ago. The land rippled up as the two landmasses met. That rippling is ongoing and is expected to continue for the next several million years. The land that was pushed skyward became the Himalayas, the world’s highest mountain range.
The colossal Himalayan Mountains include the world’s tallest mountains, many towering more than five miles above sea level. Himalaya means “home of snow” because the tallest peaks of the Himalayas are always capped with snow.
The Himalayas include Mount Everest, the tallest mountain in the world. Everest rises 29,028 feet above sea level on the border between India and Nepal. No plant life grows near the mountain’s peak due to powerful winds, extremely cold temperatures, and a lack of oxygen. Many adventurous people attempt to climb Everest every year. Often their venture ends in sickness or death. Most people are unable to breathe 20,000 feet above sea level because there is not enough oxygen in the atmosphere. A person will suffer brain damage when they are unable to breathe. Strong winds and frigid temperatures make the climate even more rigorous. Clearly the peak of Mount Everest is a place for only the heartiest of people.
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