(Notes) Coastline of India: Features and Importance: The Plateau of Peninsular India is fringed with narrow coastal plains. Raised beaches and wave-cut platforms above the watermark suggest that these coastal plains are essentially the emerged floors of the seas adjacent to the land. After the emergence of these lowlands, fluctuations in sea-level, though limited to small areas, have brought about some changes in the general surface features of the littoral.
Importance of the long Indian Coastline
- Since coastal areas have an Equable climate, a long coastline means a large number of areas having a favourable climate with no extremities in temperature which is ideal for human development.
- Domination-It offers a long reach into the vast Indian Ocean.
- Trade-The long coastline has given India a number of natural ports and harbours. It has led to the development of oceanic trade.
- Marine Economy– A large coastline has offered India many rights on mining, oil exploration and natural gas in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
- Tourism- India’s coastal areas are endowed with abundant coastal and marine ecosystems that include a wide range of mangroves, coral reefs, estuaries and lagoons having a great tourism potential.
- Fishing- The long Indian coastline provides livelihood to the fishing community.
- Wind Energy- India’s coastal areas have a huge potential for on-shore wind energy farms.
- Strategic advantage-India is a gateway for many countries which are landlocked such as Nepal and Bhutan.
However, the long coastline also means India needs to invest a lot in securing its borders. Also, it makes India vulnerable to many disasters such as Cyclones and Tsunamis.
The west coast strip extends from Gujarat in the north to Kerala in the south including Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka. The western coastal plains are an example of submerged coastal plain. It is believed that the city of Dwaraka which was once a part of the Indian mainland situated along the west coast is submerged under water. Because of this submergence, it is a narrow belt and provides natural conditions for the development of ports and harbours.
The western coastal plains in the north have a varied topography. There are marshes, lagoons, mud-flats, peninsulas, creeks, gulfs and islands.
The western coast is further divided into:
- Kachchh and Kathiawar coast
- Konkan coast
- Kanada coast
- Malabar coast
Kachchh, formerly a gulf is now a vast desolate lowland formed due to the deposition of silt brought mainly by the Indus which drained into it in the past. Kachchh is made up of such Ranns. The area gets covered with shallow water in the monsoons. Kachchh is divided into Great Rann in the north and Little Rann in the east. Between Great Rann and Rocky mainland lies the Banni Plains. Kathiawar is situated to the south of Kachchh. The plains of Gujarat are made up of black soil.
Konkan coast extends between Daman in the north to Goa in the south. The Konkan coast is characterised by subduction and erosional features. The lowlands in the region are marked by low hills separated by river courses which end in creeks and estuaries near the sea. In this region, rice and cashew are important crops.
Kanada coast extends between Marmagao and Mangalore. The Kanada coast is narrow and indented. The region is rich in iron deposits.
Malabar coast extends between Mangalore to Kanyakumari. The coastal plains here are relatively broad. There are lagoons in the area which run parallel to the coast in southern Kerala. These lagoons are called Kayal (backwaters) which receive the water of a large number of rivers before discharging that to the sea with which they are connected with narrow openings. There has been slight emergence in this part of the western coast.
The east coast strip extends from the Bay of Bengal to the tip of the Eastern Ghats including the states of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The Eastern coastal plains are an example of emergent coastal plain and are broader than the western coastal plains. There are well-developed deltas in the eastern coast formed by the deposition of sediments from the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna and the Kaveri. In East Coast, the continental shelf here extends up to 500 km into the sea, so it is difficult to develop good natural harbours and ports in this region.
The eastern coast is further divided into:
- Utkal coast
- Andhra coast
- Coromandel coast
Utkal coast extends between Chilika Lake and Kolleru Lake. These coastal plains are much wider than the western coastal plains. The region is vastly affected by immense rainfall. It is also vulnerable to cyclones. In this region, rice, coconut and banana are widely cultivated.
Andhra coast extends between Kolleru Lake and Pulicat Lake. The region is a basin area of two very important rivers- the Krishna and the Godavari. Due to this, the region is very fertile. These coastal plains are very wide.
Coromandel coast extends between Pulicat Lake and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu. This region remains dry in summer and receives rainfall in the winter from the north-east monsoons.
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