Himalayas - download topographic map set
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Updated inJanuary 2015 (added 25 maps)
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The Himalayas is the world’s highest mountain massif. The Himalayas extend for over 2,400 km from the north southward, from the Tibetan Plateau to the Indus-Gangetic Plain; they are situated on the territory of India, Nepal, China, Pakistan and Bhutan. The width of this mountain system varies from 180 to 350 km, and its total area is about 650,000 sq km. The average height of the Himalayas is about 6,000 m, while the system includes 11 peaks towering over 8,000 m. The highest peak, which is also the world’s highest summit, is Mount Everest (Chomolungma), which rises to a height of 8,848 m.
Rivers and Lakes. The northern, shorter slopes of the Himalayas are bounded by the valleys of the Tsangpo River (the Brahmaputra) and the upper Indus. The most important rivers in south Asia start in the Himalayas - the Indus, the Ganges and the Brahmaputra. The lakes in the Himalayas have tectonic and glacial origins; there are plenty of them in the western Himalayas in particular (Vular, Tsomorari and other lakes).
Geologic Structure. The distinguishing feature in the geological structure of the Himalayas is a series of flat-lying overthrust plates which moved from the north to the south, forming superposed folds. The tectonic relief of the Himalayas is characterised by a lengthwise dissection which is mostly noticeable in depressions that separate highland massifs - himals.
Glaciers. The total glaciation area is over 33,000 sq km. The longest glaciers lie on the mountain massifs Chomolungma (up to 19 km) and Kanchendzhanga (26 and 16 km); in the Kumaon Himalayas, the most famous glaciers include Milam (20 km) and Ganghotri (32 km), and in the Punjab Himalayas, the largest glaciers are Durung-Durung (24 km) and Barmal (15 km). In Kashmir, the lower glacier border is 2,500 m, while in the central Himalayas it is 4,000 m.
Tourism. The Himalayas is a popular area for international mountaineering (mostly in Nepal).
Climate. The Himalayas form a distinct climatic border between the equatorial monsoon zone of Hindustan and the continental zone of Central Asia. The climate in the western Himalayas is characterised by sharp temperature variations and a strong wind. The average temperature in January is -10 - 18 °С, while the average temperature in July is around 18°С. The eastern Himalayas have a warmer and more humid climate with monsoon rainfall patterns. At an elevation of 1,500 m, the summer temperatures rise up to 35°С on the slopes and even up to 45°С in the valleys. The northern slopes have a cold climate typical for mountain deserts. At elevations around 5,000-6,000 m, in the summer, above-zero temperatures occur only during the day.