Here’s a brief account on the plateaus of Pakistan (Potohar/Pothohar and Balochistan plateau), including their location, features, minerals, mountain ranges (like Salt Range) and rivers.
Plateaus are table-shape lands that rise at least 300 meters or more above sea level.
- They are usually bounded on one or more sides by steep slopes which drop to lower land, or by steep slopes rising to a mountain range.
- Pakistan has two areas with these distinct features: Potohar & Baluchistan Plateau
- Potohar Plateau is situated in Northwestern side of the Punjab Province.
- Its northern boundary is marked by Kala Chitta ranges and Margalla Hills.
- In the south, Potohar Plateau is bounded by Salt Range.
- On eastern and western sides, it is confined by River Jhelum and River Indus successively.
- Potohar plateau is near the Cholistan desert
- Pothohar plateau covers the districts of Rawalpindi, Jhelum, Mianwali and Chakwal.
- Pothohar plateau covers about 18000 sqkm of area.
- Ravines, Ridges, Gullies, Trough and Residual hills are the main features of the area.
- Ravines and gullies have turned the area into a badland topography.
- These Gullies and Rivines are called khunders.
- Rock salt, Limestone, Gypsum, Oil, Coal and Gas are the main minerals of the Pothohar
- River Soan, Korang, Haro, Sill, Ling and Dharab are the main rivers/ water bodies of the Potohar plateau.
- There are many saline lakes formed due to the accumulation of seepage water from the adjacent hills lakes like Kaller Kahar, Khabeki and Uchali.
- Khairi Murat, Kheri Mar, Bakralla Ridges, Jogi Tilla, and Salt Range are significant ranges of the Potohar plateau.
- Salt range is located to the south of Potohar plateau.
- The Indus River breaks through the Range at Kalabagh.
- Salt Range covers most of the Jhelum, and parts of Khushab, Chakwal and Mianwali districts.
- Its average height is about 750 – 900 meters.
- Range extends about 300 kilo-meters in east west direction.
- Salt Range is rich in a number of minerals e.g. Rock salt, Limestone and Gypsum.
- It has become famous because of salt mines of Khewra, Kalabagh, Warcha.
- The highest peak of the area is Sakesar (1527 m).
- Khewra, Makrachi, Jaranwala and Jamsukh are small streams found in Salt Ranges.
- Balochistan plateau is located on west side of Sulaiman and Kirthar ranges.
- Its Western boundary is marked by Iran, Northern by Afghanistan and Southern by Arabian sea.
- Its altitude varies from 600 – 3000 m.
- The total area of Balochistan plateau is 347,190 sq. Kms.
- It is covered by small hill ranges, valleys, plains, water bodies and Kharan desert.
- Balochistan plateau is rich in minerals resources such as Natural gas, Oil, Gold, Silver copper & Coal.
- Some of Baluchistan Rivers such as River Zhob and Gomal join the Indus River from west, forming the western tributaries.
- Some rivers such as River Hab, Porali, Hingol and Dasht directy fall into Arabian sea.
- Rivers such as Hamun -e- Mashkel, Hamun Lora and Hamun Murgo drain into inland depressions forming the inland drainage system in Balochistan Plateau.
- Some rivers such as River Mula, Bolan and Chakar absorb into the Kachhi Sibi Plain.
Balochistan plateau is divided into following natural topographical features:
- Northern Basins
- Western Basins
- Coastal Areas
- Mountain Ranges
- Zhob and Loralai basins are drained by Zhob and Loralai Rivers (western tributaries of Indus), they are situated between Toba Kakar and Sulaiman ranges.
- To the south west of the Loralai basin is the Quetta valley surrounded by mountain ranges.
- A Number of basins are also located between the mountain ranges of Chagai, RasKoh, Siahan and Central Makran which contain inland drainage basins of salt lakes like Hamun-e-Mashkhail, Hamun-e-Murgho, Hamun e Lora.
The coastal areas of the Balochistan Plateau can be divided into Eastern and Western parts.
- The eastern part comprises the Lasbela Plain which is marked by gravel and sand dunes.
- The western part is known as the Makran Coast. The Makran Coast has a narrow beach backed by rock cliffs and a coastal plaincovered with sand dunes and small hills.
The Makran coast is noted for a number of uplifted terraces, including the Clifton hills, Manora, Hawks Bay, Ormara, Gwadar and Jiwani.
Toba Kakar Ranges
- It is located in extreme north of Baluchistan plateau.
- Rugged with no vegetation cover.
- Rise above 3000 meters.
- They have Khojak pass which link Pakistan with Afghanistan.
- Kalat plateau lies in south of Quetta, and is criss-crossed by Koh-i-Maran, Harboi, Brahui and Central Brahui ranges.
- It rises to 1600 to 2000 meters.
- Lies to the south of Kalat Plateau, it’s a triangular region.
- Many active faults are present in this rea. Therefore it is subject to frequent earthquakes.
- Khuzdar Knot rises to 1800 to 2400 meters a.s.l.
- They are located at Pak-Afghan border in Chaghi district with altitude of 2000 meters a.s.l.
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- Lies to the south of Chaghi hills in Chaghi district
- They also have altitude of 2000 meters a.s.l.
- It’s a Curved shaped range in between Central Makran and Raskoh.
Central Makran Range
- It lies in South west region of Baluchistan in South of Siahan Range with altitude of 1000 to 1200 meters a.s.l.
- Most of these rivers are seasonal in nature.
Makran Coastal range
- It is Southernmostrange along the coastal plain of Baluchistan with an altitude of just 200 to 600 meters a.s.l.
- Many small rivers from this range flow towards south to Arabian sea.
Britannica, Britannica, AIOU Geography
Mineral Resources of Pakistan: List of All Minerals & Fuel Energy Reserves
Mountain Ranges of Pakistan: List & Map of All Famous Mountains
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