(Last Updated on : 26/10/2010)
The Central Highlands in India are composed of three main plateaus, namely the Malwa plateau, the Deccan Plateau and Chota Nagpur Plateau.
The Malwa Plateau in the west, the Deccan Plateau in the south (covering majority of the Indian peninsula) and the Chota Nagpur Plateau in the east are the most important regions of Indian subcontinent and the central highlands in India. The Malwa Plateau is located in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. The average altitude of the Malwa plateau is 500 metres, and the landscape generally slopes towards the north. The Chambal River and its tributaries drain most of the region; the upper reaches of the Mahi River drain the western part.
The Deccan Plateau is a large triangular plateau, surrounded by the Vindhyas to the north and flanked by the Eastern and Western Ghats. The Deccan covers a total area of 1.9 million sq km (735,000 mile²). It is mostly flat, with elevations ranging from 300 to 600 m (1,000 to 2,000 ft). The average elevation of the plateau is 2,000 feet (600 m) above sea level. The surface slopes from 3,000 feet (900 m) in the west to 1,500 feet (450 m) in the east. It slopes gently from west to east and gives rise to several peninsular rivers such as the Godavari, the Krishna, the Kaveri and the Narmada, which drain into the Bay of Bengal. This region is mostly semi-arid as it lies on the lower side of both Ghats. Much of the Deccan is encompassed by thorn scrub forest scattered with small regions of deciduous broadleaf forest. Climate in the Deccan ranges from hot summers to mild winters.
The Chota Nagpur Plateau is located in eastern India and is one of the central highlands in India, covering much of the Indian state Jharkhand and adjacent parts of Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh. Its total area is approximately 65,000 km² (25,000 mile²) and is made up of three smaller plateaus, namely the Ranchi, Hazaribagh, and Kodarma plateaus. The Ranchi plateau is the largest, with an average elevation of 700 m (2,300 ft). Much of the plateau is forested, covered by the Chota Nagpur dry deciduous forests. Huge reserves of metal ores and coal have been found in the Chota Nagpur plateau. The Kathiawar peninsula in western Gujarat is surrounded by the Gulf of Kutch and the Gulf of Khambat. The natural vegetation on most of the peninsula is xeric scrub, part of the Northwestern thorn scrub forests eco-region.
In western India, the Kutch region in Gujarat and Koyna in Maharashtra are classified as a Zone IV region (high risk) for earthquakes. The Kutch city of Bhuj was the epicentre of the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, which took away the lives of more than 20,000 people and injured 166,836 while destroying or damaging near a million homes. The 1993 Latur earthquake in Maharashtra killed 7,928 people and injured 30,000. Other areas of central highlands in India have a moderate to low risk chance of an earthquake occurring.