138 pages, b/w photos, b/w illustrations, b/w maps
In this book the Spiti Valley, which has the distinction of being an area in which "...an almost unbroken sequence of sedimentary deposits ranging from Cambrian to Cretaceous..." can be seen, has been introduced as a geomorphic entity in a scientific manner. After a brief introduction to the deserts and their characteristics (Chapter 1), an elaborate description of the study area (the Spiti Valley) as a geomorphic and a geologic entity is given (Chapter 2). This is followed by the description of the Himalaya as a mountain range produced by the collision of two continental crustal plates (Chapter 3). What follows as Chapter 4 is a brief account of the data and methodology used in the present study. The work is primarily based on a brief field work session and the analysis of the topographical maps, the undisputed workhorse of geomorphology.
What follows in Chapter 5 is an analysis of the Quaternary geomorphology of the Spiti Valley, a perfect example of cold desert in the Himalaya. The chapter includes an analysis of the gross geomorphic features of the valley (primarily those due to continental collision), Quaternary geomorphic features of the valley (alluvial fans, tallus cones and aprons, alluvial terraces, earth pillars etc.), and an analysis of the geomorphic processes operating in the valley (viz., mass movement on the valley walls and valley bottorn – debris flows, physical weathering, fan/cone formation, earth pillar formation, floodplain formation, neotectonics etc.). The chapter culminates with the presentation of a model for the geomorphic process mix operating on a typical valley slope of the Spiti Valley. This model envisages two process domains – a colluvial domain and an alluvial domain – depending on the dominance of the colluvial and alluvial processes. The later is further divided into old-alluvial (inactive) and active (or floodplain) alluvial domains.
Cold Desert Geomorphology in the Trans-Himalayan Region would be able to satisfy the curiosity of the casual observers of the Spiti Valley and would be the starting point for those who wish to do some serious geomorphic research on Spiti Valley in particular and the cold deserts of the Himalaya and other mountain areas in general.
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