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Life depends on meltwater from the surrounding mountains, and vegetation is alpine (i.e., consists of species above the tree line), growing on thin soils.K2 (also called Mount Godwin Austen) on the border of the Pakistani sector and one of the Chinese-administered enclaves, with an elevation of 28,251 feet (8,611 metres); at least 30 other peaks exceed 24,000 feet (7,300 metres).
The climate varies from alpine in the northeast to subtropical in the southwest.
In the alpine area, average annual precipitation is about 3 inches (75 mm), but in the subtropical zone (around Jammu) rainfall amounts to about 45 inches (1,150 mm) per year.
From 7,000 to 10,500 feet (3,200 metres), coniferous forests with fir, pine, and spruce are found.
From 10,500 to 12,000 feet (3,700 metres), birch is dominant, and above 12,000 feet there are meadows with rhododendrons and dwarf willows as well as honeysuckle.
Precipitation is low, amounting to about 15 to 20 inches (380 to 500 mm) per year, and it occurs mainly in the form of heavy but infrequent rain showers during the summer monsoon (June to September).
The countryside has been almost entirely denuded of trees, and thorn scrub and coarse grass are the dominant forms of vegetation.The zone receives some rain from the southwest monsoon in the summer months—and the lower slopes are forested—but the mountains constitute a climatic divide, representing a transition from the monsoon climate of the Indian subcontinent to the dry continental climate of Central Asia.The valley of the upper Indus River is a well-defined feature that follows the geologic strike (structural trend) westward from the Tibetan border to the point in the Pakistani sector of Kashmir where the river rounds the great mountainous mass of Nanga Parbat to run southward in deep gorges that cut across the strike.Geologically complex and topographically immense, the Great Himalayas contain ranges with numerous peaks reaching elevations of 20,000 feet (6,100 metres) or higher, between which lie deeply entrenched remote valleys.The region was heavily glaciated during the Pleistocene Epoch, and remnant glaciers and snowfields are still present.Jammu and Kashmir, state of India, located in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent in the vicinity of the Karakoram and westernmost Himalayan mountain ranges.The state is part of the larger region of Kashmir, which has been the subject of dispute between India, Pakistan, and China since the partition of the subcontinent in 1947.The range receives heavy precipitation in the forms of winter snowfall and summer rain and has extensive areas of pasture above the tree line.It is drained principally by the The Vale of Kashmir is a deep asymmetrical basin lying between the Pir Panjal Range and the western end of the Great Himalayas at an average elevation of 5,300 feet (1,620 metres).Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work!