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Episodes 2020; 43(1): 511-523

Published online March 1, 2020


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

Evolution of arid landscape in India and likely impact of future climate change

Amal Kar1 and Anil Kumar2

1Kolkata; Formerly of Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur, India
2Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, Dehradun, India

Received: December 5, 2018; Revised: July 24, 2019; Accepted: July 24, 2019

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Thar Desert and Ladakh are two prominent arid areas in the Indian Subcontinent, representing the hot and the cold arid regions, respectively. Landforms in Thar Desert have developed over a relatively stable platform, and bear strong impressions of several cycles of late Quaternary climate change between warm wet and dry cool phases, which dictated the spatiotemporal distribution of the fluvial and aeolian processes and the typical disposition of the landforms. By contrast, Ladakh, located in the Trans-Himalaya, is mountainous and dominated by glacial, periglacial and fluvial processes, with fewer signatures of lacustrine and aeolian processes. Since ~44 ka, the area witnessed two major and one minor phases of aridity. Evidence for neotectonic, though expected very much in this suture zone between the Indian and the Eurasian plates, is not very common, and need proper investigation. Presently anthropogenic activities tend to have over-bearing influences on the process acceleration and land degradation in both Thar Desert and Ladakh. Since warming-related changes in climate have also started to impact the areas, sustainable land uses, backed up by land conservation measures are called for.