The Western Ghat: The Great Escarpment of India

  • Vishwas S. Kale


The Western Ghat Escarpment is one of the classic examples of passive margin great escarpments in the world. The Western Ghat zone is an area of spectacular scenery, rugged terrain, deep valleys, impressive waterfalls, and dense forest teeming with wildlife. The ∼1-km high wall is an assemblage of valley heads and spurs. Other associated landforms are plateau outliers, deep gorges, beheaded plateau valleys, and laterite plateaux or tablelands. There are many instances of stream piracy in the Ghat zone. The Ghat is the fountainhead of many large, east-flowing rivers and numerous short, swift, coastward-flowing rivers. Most workers believe that the Western Ghat Escarpment was initiated as a rifted margin at the time of eruption of the Deccan basalts in late Cretaceous. Although it is generally agreed that the escarpment has receded inland, there are differences of opinion about the mode and rate of recession.


Beheaded valleys Deccan basalts gorges great escarpment monsoon outliers scarp recession Western Ghat 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vishwas S. Kale
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of PunePuneIndia

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