The Himalayas are a mountain range in South Asia. It has a length of about 2,400 kilometers and passes through the countries of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China (Tibet), Bhutan and Nepal. After Antarctica and the Arctic, this is the world’s largest repository of snow and ice. The Himalayan mountain range consists of three parallel mountain ranges called The Great Himalayas, The Little Himalayas and the outer Himalayas. The highest of these mountain ranges is Mount Everest, located at 8,848 meters above sea level. Nine of the ten highest mountains in the world are in the Himalayas. No mountain range in the world has affected human culture and religion so much.
How did the Himalayas form?
It was formed as a result of a continental collision between the Himalayas, Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates, which contained multiple mountains. About 50 million years old, it is among the youngest mountain ranges. Various geological tests conducted by scientists show that this large and majestic mountain range continues to grow by about 2 centimeters each year.
The Himalayan region is still geologically active. In the next 10 million years, the Indian subcontinent will move about 1500 kilometres more to Asia because the Indian plate is moving at a rate of 67 millimetres per year.
Importance of the Himalayas
The Himalayas are the source of three major river systems in the world: the Indus River, the Ganges River and the Yangtze River. There are hundreds of lakes here. Most of the lakes are located at altitudes of less than 5,000 meters, and with the altitude, the size of the lakes also decreases. Lake Tilicho, located in Annapurna in Nepal, is one of the highest lakes in the world.
Since the Tibetan plain receives limited rain, the rivers it feeds are of great importance. It also allows monsoon rains to stay in the Indian plain due to its height and length. Endangered species live in the forests on the outskirts.
There are about 15,000 glaciers in the Himalayan region. The 72-kilometer-long Siachen Glacier is the largest glacier located outside the polar region. The glaciers provide crystal clear freshwater reservoirs to the Himalayas.