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Palghat Gap

  • Category
    Geography
  • Published
    19th May, 2023

Context

The Palghat Gap has garnered attention due to a recent study that highlighted the region's remarkable biodiversity, with over 450 tree species, including ancient ones like Magnolia champaca that have existed for over 130 million years.

About Palghat Gap

Shear zones are weak regions in the earth’s crust.

  • The Palghat Gap, often referred to as a significant break in the Western Ghats, spans approximately 40 kilometers in width.
  • It is characterized by the towering Nilgiris and Anamalai hills, both reaching elevations exceeding 2,000 meters above sea level, on either side.
  • Throughout history, the Palghat Gap has served as a crucial gateway into the state of Kerala, functioning as a corridor for both road and rail transportation that connects Coimbatore to Palakkad.
  • The renowned Bharathappuzha river flows through this region.
  • In contrast to the lush tropical rainforests prevalent in the Western Ghats, the vegetation in the Palghat Gap is classified as dry evergreen forest.
  • Moreover, this geographical feature serves as a notable demarcation point for the region's flora and fauna.
    • For instance, certain species of frogs can only be found on one side of the Gap.

Understanding geography of the gap

  • The Palghat Gap, a geological shear zone stretching from east to west, has its origins in the drifting of continental shelves following the separation of Australia and Africa from the Gondwana landmass.
  • About 100 million years ago, India and Madagascar were part of the same landmass until volcanic activity led to their split, which occurred in the location where the Palghat Gap is situated.
    • A similar split is observed in the Ranotsara Gap on the eastern side of
  • Overall, the Palghat Gap's geological origins can be traced back to the separation of landmasses around 100 million years ago, with potential factors like ancient waterways and genetic variations contributing to the ecological differences observed in the area.
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