The Aravalli Range in Rajasthan
|Elevation||1,722 m (5,650 ft)|
|Length||800 km (500 mi)|
|States||Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi and Gujarat|
The Aravalli Range (Aravali) literally meaning 'line of peaks', is a range of mountains in western India running approximately 800 km in a northeastern direction across Indian states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi. It is also called Mewat hills locally.
The Aravalli range are the oldest fold mountains in India. The northern end of the range continues as isolated hills and rocky ridges into Haryana state, ending in Delhi. The famous Delhi Ridge is the last leg of the Aravalli Range, which traverses through South Delhi and terminates into Central Delhi where Raisina hill is its last extension. It is one of the world's oldest mountain ranges. It dates back to a pre-Indian subcontinental collision with the mainland Eurasian Plate. The southern end is at Palanpur near Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The highest peak is Guru Shikhar in Mount Abu in Rajasthan. Rising to 5650 feet (1722 meters), it lies near the south-western extremity of the range, close to the border with Gujarat state. The city of Udaipur with its lakes lies on the south slope of the range in Rajasthan. Numerous rivers rise amidst the ranges including the Banas River, the Luni River, the Sahibi, the Sakhi, and the Sabarmati River.
The Aravalli Range is the eroded stub of a range of ancient folded mountains. The range rose in a Precambrian event called the Aravalli-Delhi orogen. The range joins two of the ancient segments that make up the Indian craton, the Marwar segment to the northwest of the range, and the Bundelkhand segment to the southeast.
Old fold mountains are characterized by having stopped growing higher due to the cessation of upward thrust caused by the stopping of movement of the tectonic plates in the Earth's crust below them. In ancient times they were extremely high but since have worn down almost completely by millions of years of weathering. In contrast, the Himalayas are continuously rising young fold mountains of today.
The Aravalli Range inside Ranthambhore National Park, in Rajasthan.
The Aravalli Range, seen from the range's highest point at Guru Shikhar, in Rajasthan.
Being rich in mineral resources, the Aravalli hills have witnessed years of illegal mining, which have led to their fast erosion in Rajasthan and Haryana. This also poses a grave environmental concern as the ranges form a natural barrier against the spread of the Thar desert northwards into the Gangetic plains in the Gangetic basin and Gujarat.
In May 2009, after months of media and public protests, along with several environmental groups, the Supreme Court banned mining in an area of 448 km2 across Faridabad, Gurgaon and Mewat districts in Haryana, that was once supposed to be set aside for a national park. This comes after the earlier court judgment in 1994 that allowed limited mining on the basis of the sustainable development principle under strict guidelines. Violation of the guidelines by local miners led to the court ban ruling. However, there are many illegal mines in Rajasthan, some of them operating at the edges of the Sariska Tiger Reserve.
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- Mission Green: SC bans mining in Aravali hills Hindustan Times, May 9, 2009.
- Singh, Rachna (October 27, 2010). "Over 200 Aravalli mines still functional". The Times Of India.
- "Jairam to Raj CM: Shut mines near Sariska now". The Times Of India. November 4, 2010.
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- Aravalli Range Homepage India Environment Portal.