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arc for nearly 2,600 km (1,600 mi) along the northern fringes of the Indian subcontinent, from the bend of the Indus River in the northwest to the Brahmaputra River in the east. The Himalayas range, averaging 320 to 400 km (200 to 250 mi) in width, rises sharply from the Gangetic Plain. North of this mountain belt lies the Tibetan Plateau (Qing Zang Gaoyuan). The Himalayas form the earth’s highest mountain region, containing 9 of the 10 highest peaks in the world. Among these peaks are the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest (8,850 m/29,035 ft), which is on the NepalTibet border; the second highest peak, K2 or Mount Godwin Austen (8,611 m/28,251 ft), located on the border between China and Jammu and Kashmīr, a territory claimed by India and Pakistan; the third highest peak, Kānchenjunga (8,598 m/28,209 ft) on the Nepal-India border; Makālu (8,481 m/27,824 ft) on the NepalTibet border; Dhaulāgiri (8,172 m/26,811 ft) and Annapūrna 1 (8,091 m/26,545 ft) in Nepal; Nanga Parbat (8,125 m/26,657 ft) in the Pakistanicontrolled portion of Jammu and Kashmīr; and Nanda Devi (7817 m/25,645 ft) in India.
(Chinese Karakorum Shan), mountain range of south central Asia, in the western Himalayas, extending from the eastern edge of Afghanistan into Jammu and Kashmīr, a territory that is disputed by India and Pakistan. The range includes K2, also known as Mount Godwin Austen (8,611 m/28,251 ft), the second highest peak in the world.
Hindu Kush Mountains, Pakistan The Hindu Kush mountain system in central Asia extends for 1,000 km (600 mi) in parts of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan. With about two dozen peaks surpassing 7,000 m (23,000 ft), the range reaches its highest point in Pakistan’s highlands, where the peak known as Tirich Mīr rises 7,690 m (25,230 ft) above sea level. Elburz Mountains, mountain range, northern Iran, extending along the southern shore of the Caspian Sea. The range marks the northern limit of the Iranian Plateau. The Elburz have an average altitude of about 1524 m (about 5000 ft). The highest peak in the system, Mount Damāvand, is 5,670 m (18,602 ft) above sea level.
Caucasus Mountains, mountain range, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and southwest Russia, considered a boundary between Europe and Asia. The range extends for about 1200 km (about 750 mi) from the Abşeron Peninsula on the southwestern shore of the Caspian Sea to the mouth of the Kuban’ River on the northeastern shore of the Black Sea. The western region is drained by the Kuban’ River and the eastern portion by the Kura River. Of the two principal chains within the Caucasus, the most northerly range has a number of peaks higher than about 4570 m (15,000 ft) above sea level.
Pamirs Mountain northern Tajikistan, known until 1933 as Garmo Peak, from 1933 to 1962 as Stalin Peak, and from 1962 to 1998 as Communism Peak. The ice-covered summit rises to 7,495 m (24,590 ft) in the northwestern Pamirs. It marks the highest elevation of the former Soviet republics.
mountain chain, southern Turkey, paralleling the Mediterranean coast for 320 km (200 mi). Its highest point is the Aladağ (3,734 m/12,251 ft). North of the western end of the Taurus Mountains lie the large Eğridir and Beyşehir lakes. To the east lie the Anti-Taurus Mountains. South of the Aladağ and leading to the Seyhan River valley is a pass, called the Cilician Gates (Gülek Boğazı), used from ancient times by many armies.
Kunlun Mountains, also Kunlun Shan or K’un-lun Shan, major mountain system, western China. The mountains rise to 7,723 m (25,338 ft) atop Muztag (Mu-tzu-t'aKo) and extend east to west for more than 2410 km (1500 mi) between the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau (Qing Zang Gaoyuan) and the two arid basins, the Tarim Pendi and the Qaidam Pendi. The Altun (A-erhchin) Shan, a range that encircles the Qaidam Pendi, is sometimes defined as part of the Kunlun system. India claims territory in the western Kunlun Mountains.
Tien Shan, major mountain system, Central Asia, extending from the Pamirs northeast along the border between Kyrgyzstan, southeastern Kazakhstan, and the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China. The Tian Shan (Chinese, “Heavenly Mountains”) has a length of about 2414 km (about 1500 mi) and a width of about 320 to 480 km (about 200 to 300 mi); it covers an area (1,036,000 sq km/400,000 sq mi) approximately equal to that of the Rocky Mountains in the United States
Altai Mountains, mountain range of Asia, extending from the headwaters of the Ob’ and Irtysh rivers in southern Siberia in Russia, into Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region of China and into Mongolia. The highest peak of the Altay range is Mount Belukha (4,620 m/15,157 ft). Below about 1830 m (about 6000 ft) the mountain slopes are thickly covered with trees, including cedar, pine, larch, fir, and birch. Between the forests and the snow line, which lies between about 2440 to 3050 m (about 8000 and 10,000 ft), are alpine pastures some gold, iron ore, copper, silver, and tin.
Ural Mountains (Russian Ural’skiye Gory), mountain chain in Russia, extending 2,400 km (1,500 mi)
from its northern boundary at the Arctic Ocean to its southern limits at the steppes of Kazakhstan, traditionally separating the continents of Europe and Asia. The chain is divided roughly into four main divisions: the Polar, Northern, Middle, and Southern Urals. The Polar Urals (above latitude 64° North) are treeless arctic tundra. The Northern Urals (latitude 64° North to latitude 61° North) constitute a distinct craggy, treeless, narrow range with crests averaging 300 to 500 m (1,000 to 1,500 ft) in height. This range contains the highest Ural crest, Gora Narodnaya (1,894 m/ 6,214 ft). Other Northern peaks include Mount Sablya, Telpos-Iz, and Isherim. The only trees in the area are sparse growths of larch (a type of pine tree).
Mount Everest mountain peak in the Himalayas of southern Asia, considered the highest mountain in the world. Mount Everest is situated at the edge of the Tibetan Plateau (Qing Zang Gaoyuan), on the border of Nepal and the Tibet Autonomous Region of China.Mount Everest was known as Peak XV until 1856, when it was named for Sir George Everest, the surveyor general of India from 1830 to 1843.. Most Nepali people refer to the mountain as Sagarmatha, meaning “Forehead in the Sky.”The height of Mount Everest has been determined to be 8,850 m (29,035 ft). The mountain’s actual height, and the claim that Everest is the highest mountain in the world, have long been disputed.
K2 Mountain, also Mount Godwin Austen, mountain peak in the Karakoram Range of the western
Himalayas, straddling the border between China and Jammu and Kashmīr, a territory claimed by India and Pakistan. Pakistan currently controls the portion where K2 lies. K2, rising 8,611 m (28,251 ft), is the second tallest mountain in the world. Only Mount Everest (8,850 m/29,035 ft), also in the Himalayas, is taller. K2 is an almost regular cone of ice and limestone resting on a granite base. In 1856 T. G. Montgomerie of the Survey of India measured the mountain and named it “K2” to denote it as one of 35 summits in the Karakoram Range. In 1861 the peak was unofficially renamed Mount Godwin Austen, after British soldier and topographer Henry Haversham Godwin Austen, the second European to visit the area. Several local names, including Chogori, Lambha Pahar, Dapsang, and Kechu (K2), are also used to identify the peak.
Kangchenjunga Mountain (Nepali:कञ्चनजङ्घा Kanchanjaŋghā), (Limbu Language: Sewalungma), is the third highest mountain in the world (after Mount Everest and K2), with an elevation of 8,586 metres (28,169 ft). Kangchenjunga translated means "The Five Treasures of Snows", as it contains five peaks, four of them over 8,450 metres. The treasures represent the five repositories of God, which are gold, silver, gems, grain, and holy books. Kangchenjunga is called Sewalungma in the local Limbu language, translates as 'Mountain that we offer Greetings to'. Kanchenjunga or Sewalungma is considered sacred in the Kirant religion.
(Russian Aral’skoye More; Uzbek Orol Dengizi), saltwater lake, or inland sea, in Central Asia, in southwestern Kazakhstan and northwestern Uzbekistan, about 450 km (about 280 mi) east of the Caspian Sea. In the Turkic languages of the area the sea’s name means “island,” referring to it as an island of water in a sea of deserts. A body of water with no outlet, the Aral Sea is fed by two large rivers, the Amu Darya from the south and the Syr Darya from the east. The rivers have been heavily diverted for crop irrigation during the past several decades, reducing the size of the Aral Sea by more than 75 percent since 1960. The resulting environmental changes pose a serious threat to the local ecology and human health.
Lake Baikal, lake in southern Siberian Russia, the deepest lake in the world with a maximum depth of 1,637 m (5,371 ft). It is estimated to contain approximately one-fifth of all the earth's fresh surface water. The lake has an area of 31,500 sq km (12,200 sq mi) and about 1,963 km (about 1,220 mi) of shoreline, making it the third largest lake in Asia, as well as the continent’s largest freshwater lake in terms of surface area. The crescentshaped lake is 636 km (395 mi) long and varies in width from about 14 to 80 km (about 9 to 50 mi). The lake is fed by the Selenge, Barguzin, and Verkhnaya Angara rivers and by more than 300 mountain streams. The only outlet is the lower Angara, which flows west from the lake into the Yenisey River.
Lake Balkhash is a lake in southeastern Kazakhstan,presently the largest in Central Asia (after the drying of most of the Aral Sea). It is a closed basin that is part of the endorheic basin that includes the Caspian and Aral seas.
Caspian Sea (ancient Caspium Mare or Hyrcanium Mare), saltwater lake in southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia, the largest inland body of water in the world. The Caspian Sea is bordered on the west by Azerbaijan and Russia, on the northeast and east by Kazakhstan, on the east by Turkmenistan, and on the south by Iran. It extends about 1210 km (about 750 mi) in a northern and southern direction and about 210 to 436 km (about 130 to 271 mi) in an eastern and western direction. It has an area of 371,000 sq km (143,000 sq mi). The Caspian coastline is irregular, with large gulfs on the east, including Krasnovodsk Gulf and the very shallow Garabogazköl Gulf, which acts as an evaporation basin and is the site of a major chemical plant that extracts salts from the deposits.
salt lake in southwestern Asia. Bounded on the west by Israel and the West Bank and on the east by Jordan, the Dead Sea forms part of the Israeli-Jordanian border. The surface of the Dead Sea, 418 m (1,371 ft) below sea level as of 2006, is the lowest water surface on earth. The lake is 80 km (50 mi) long and has a maximum width of 18 km (11 mi); its area is 1,020 sq km (394 sq mi). The Dead Sea occupies a north portion of the Great Rift Valley. On the east the high plateau of Moab rises about 1,340 m (about 4,400 ft) above the sea; on the west the plateau of Judea rises to half that height. From the eastern shore a peninsula juts out into the lake. To the south of this peninsula the lake is shallow, less than 6 m (less than 20 ft) deep; to the north lies its greatest depth.
Rub‘ al Khali desert means “Empty Quarter” in Arabic, reflecting the barren and forbidding nature of the southern Arabian desert. It is much larger and drier than the other Saudi deserts, contains no oases, and can only be inhabited temporarily, in the cooler winter months, by camel-herding nomads called Bedouins. The Rub‘ al Khali extends over much of southeastern Saudi Arabia and beyond the southern frontier into Yemen and Oman. Like An Nafūd, the Rub‘ al Khali is a sea of sand ridges and hills, some of which are as high as 150 m (500 ft). One of the world’s best-preserved meteor impact sites is located in the middle of the Rub‘ al Khali, at a site called Wabar
in Central Asia, occupying most of Turkmenistan; its name is Turkic for “black sands.” The desert covers about threefourths of Turkmenistan. It extends from the Ustyurt plateau on the north to the Köpetdag Mountains on the south and from the Amu Darya river on the east nearly to the Caspian Sea on the west. The area of the Garagum is about 350,000 sq km (about 140,000 sq mi).The Garagum consists chiefly of large expanses of hard-packed clay and rolling sand dunes. The terrain is generally devoid of vegetation. Certain species of steppe bushes and a few varieties of flowering plants grow in limited areas of the region, mainly in the southeast.
Gobi Desert, extensive desert area of southern Mongolia and northern China. The largest desert in Asia, it is also known as Shamo, the Chinese word for “sand desert.” The Gobi, which is about 1,600 km (about 1,000 mi) in extent from east to west and about 1,000 km (about 600 mi) from north to south, has a total area of 1,300,000 sq km (500,000 sq mi). It is bounded by the Da Hinggan Ling (Greater Khingan Range) on the east, the Altun Shan and Nan Shan mountains on the south, the Tian Shan mountains on the west, and the Altay and Hangayn Nuruu (Khangai) mountains and Yablonovyy Range on the north.
South China Sea, arm of the Pacific Ocean, located off the eastern and southeastern coasts of Asia. On the north, it is divided from the East China Sea by Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait. It is partly enclosed on the east by the Philippines and Borneo. In the southwest it merges with the Gulf of Thailand (Siam), and on the west it is separated from the Gulf of Tonkin by the Chinese island of Hainan. The South China Sea increases in depth from the south, where much of it is less than 300 m (1,000 ft) deep, to the north, where depths of 4,600 m (15,000 ft) have been found. The total area of the sea is 2,319,000 sq km (895,400 sq mi). The chief ports on or near this sea include Manila, Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), Hong Kong, and Macao. The principal rivers draining into the South China Sea are the Mekong and the Xi Jiang. Shipping and fishing in the sea are economically important. Weather in the region is marked by violent monsoons and typhoons.
Sea of Japan or East Sea, arm of the Pacific Ocean, lying between Japan on the east and the Asian mainland on the west. It is connected to the Sea of Okhotsk, on the north, by La Pérouse Strait (Sōya-kaikyō) and Tatar Strait; to the Pacific Ocean, on the east and southeast, by Tsugaru Strait and Bungo Strait, respectively; and to the East China Sea, on the south, by Korea Strait and Tsushima Strait. Area, 1,008,000 sq km (389,200 sq mi). Amu Darya (ancient Oxus; Russian Amudar’ya; Turkmen Amuderya; Uzbek Amudaryo;
Tajik Dar”yoi Amu), largest river of Central Asia. The Amu Darya is formed by the junction of the Pandj and Vakhsh rivers in the Pamirs mountain region, on Tajikistan's southwestern border. The river measures 2,540 km (1,580 mi) in length. It follows a northwest course between Tajikistan and Afghanistan, continues northwest between Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, and then flows north through Uzbekistan into the Large Aral Sea (Russian Bol’shoye Aral’skoye More), which separated from the northern Small Aral Sea (Russian Maloye Aral’skoye More) in the late 1980s. The Amu Darya’s main tributaries are the Panj and Vakhsh rivers, which both rise in the Pamirs.
Amur, River, east central Asia, formed by the junction of the Shilka and Argun rivers. The Amur flows southeast, forming the border between Russia and China for almost 1,610 km (1,000 mi). It then flows northeast and empties into Tatar Strait (Tatarskiy Proliv) near the city of Nikolayevsk-na-Amure. Some 2,874 km (1,786 mi) long, the Amur is one of the great rivers of the world. Including the chief headstreams, the total system has a length of about 4,416 km (2,744 mi). The Amur is navigable throughout its entire course, and the Shilka is navigable to Sretensk, Russia.
Brahmaputra (Sanskrit, “son of Brahma”; ancient Dyardanes or Oedanes), one of the great
rivers of southern Asia, 2,900 km (1,800 mi) long. It flows from southwestern Tibet, China, through Arunāchal Pradesh and Assam states in India, into Bangladesh, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. In Tibet it is called the Yarlung Zangbo. Rising in the Kailas Range of the Himalayas, at an elevation of 4,900 m (16,000 ft), the stream follows an easterly course for about 1450 km (about 900 mi) in Tibet at an altitude of about 3660 m (about 12,000 ft), then swings south, crosses the Himalayas, and enters the lowland plains of Assam, where it is called the Dihang. Near Sadiya, Assam, it changes course to southwest and becomes the Brahmaputra Chao Phraya, river, western Thailand, chief river of the country. It rises in the northern part of the country and flows south 365 km (227 mi), emptying into the Gulf of Thailand (Siam). Bangkok is on the river near its mouth. The Chao Phraya Valley is an important riceproducing region. The Tigris River is 1,900 km (1,180 mi) long and drains an area of more than 110,000 sq km (43,000 sq mi). The river originates in the mountains of eastern Turkey and flows southeast into Iraq after briefly forming the extreme eastern portion of the border between Syria and Turkey.. In southern Iraq the Tigris joins with the Euphrates to form the Shatt al Arab, which is 170 km (110 mi) long and flows to the head of the Persian Gulf.
Ganges River, most important river of the Indian subcontinent. The Ganges flows 2,510 km (1,560 mi) from the Himalayas of north central India southeast through Bangladesh and into the Bay of Bengal. Named for the Hindu goddess Ganga, the river draws from a basin of 1 million sq km (400,000 sq mi), one of the world’s most fertile and densely populated regions
The Yellow River or Huang He / Hwang Ho (Chinese: 黃 河 ; pinyin: Huáng Hé; Mongolian: Hatan Gol, Queen river is the second-longest river in China (after the Yangtze River) and the sixthlongest in the world at the estimated length of 5,464 kilometers (3,395 mi)Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into the Bohai Sea. The Yellow River basin has an east-west extent of 1900 km (1,180 mi) and a north-south extent of 1100 km (684 mi). Total basin area is 742,443 km² (290,520 mi²). Indus, river of Asia, formed in western Tibet (an autonomous region of China) by the confluence of the glacial streams from the Himalayas. It flows from Tibet northwest across the Indian-controlled portion of Jammu and Kashmīr, passing between the western extremity of the Himalayas and the northern extremity of the Hindu Kush mountain range; it then courses generally south through Pakistan to the Arabian Sea, covering a distance of 2,900 km (1,800 mi)..
Province. After entering northeastern Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) the Salween flows generally south, and then forms part of the border between Myanmar and Thailand before emptying into the Gulf of Martaban at the port of Moulmein. The Salween River is 2,800 km (1,740 mi) long, but because of numerous rapids it is only navigable for 120 km (74 mi) above its mouth.
Irrawaddy River, also Irawadi, river of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma), principal river of the country, formed in the north by the confluence of the Mali and Nmai rivers. From Myitkyinā the river flows generally south for 2,100 km (1,300 mi). Near Henzada it branches into several mouths, forming an extensive delta, and empties into the Andaman Sea. The largest tributary of the river is the Chindwin River; other tributaries include the Mu and Myitnge. The Irtysh River (Russian: Иртыш ; Kazakh: Ertis / Ертiс ; Tatar Cyrillic: Иртеш, Latin: İrteş ; Chinese: É'ěrqísī hé / 额尔齐斯河) is a river in Siberia and is the chief tributary of the river Ob. Its name means White River. It is actually longer than the Ob to their confluence. Irtysh's main affluent is Tobol River. The Ob-Irtysh form a major basin in Asia, encompassing most of Western Siberia and the Altay Mountains.
Salween, River, southeastern Asia. The river rises in Tibet Autonomous Region in China, where it is also known as Nu Jiang, and runs south through Yunnan
hydroelectric power and as a waterway for the logging industry. Among the Korean cities on its banks are Sinŭiju, its port Yongamp’o, and Hyesan. The Yalu figured prominently in the fighting during the First Sino-Japanese War (1894-1895), the RussoJapanese War, and the Korean War.
Shinano, River in central Japan, the longest river in the country. The Shinano is on Honshū Island, flowing through Niigata and Nagano prefectures. It is 367 km (228 mi) long. The river, called the Chikuma River in Nagano Prefecture, originates on Mount Kobushiga in the Kantō Mountains; it flows generally north past the towns of Saku, Ueda, Kōshoku, and Nagano, and then northeast across the Echigo Plain past Iiyama and Tōkamachi. It then flows through the larger city of Niigata, where it empties into the Sea of Japan (East Sea).
Yalu or Amnok River in eastern Asia, forming most of the boundary between North Korea and China. About 790 km (490 mi) long, it rises on the southern slopes of the Changbai Shan mountains, flows in a generally southern and southwestern direction, and empties into Korea Bay, an arm of the Yellow Sea, just south of Andong (An-tung), China. Among its tributaries are the Hun, Changjin, and Tongno rivers. Navigable only by small craft for most of its length, the Yalu is important as a source of
China’s principal navigable waterway and a natural boundary between what is traditionally considered northern and southern China.
Yenisei River (Russian: Енисе́й), also written as Yenisey, is the greatest river system flowing to the Arctic Ocean. Rising in Mongolia, it follows a northerly course to the Yenisei Gulf in the Kara Sea, draining a large part of central Siberia, the longest stream following the Yenisei-AngaraSelenga-Ider.Maximum depth of Yenisei River is 80 feet (24 m) and average depth is 45 feet (14 m). The depth of river goes outflow 106 feet (32 m) and river goes inflow 101 feet (31 m).
Yamuna or Jumna (ancient Jomanes), river, northern India, principal tributary of the Ganges, rising in the western Himalayas, near Kāmet peak. After pursuing a southerly course of about 153 km (about 95 mi), the Yamuna enters the plains north of Sahāranpur and follows a winding route past Delhi and Āgra to Allahābād, where it joins the Ganges, after a course of 1,400 km (870 mi). The confluence of the Yamuna and Ganges is a place of pilgrimage for Hindus. The river is navigable by barge, and it is used for irrigation purposes
Yangtze or Chang Jiang, river in China, the longest river of Asia and the third longest river in the world. The Yangtze flows a total distance of 6,300 km (3,900 mi), from the Tibetan Plateau in the west to the East China Sea in the east, forming
Michel Peissel discovered the source of the Mekong in 1994 at a high mountain pass.
Dead Sea Coast,Until the winter of 1978-79, when a major mixing event took place, the Dead Sea was composed of two stratified layers of water that differed in temperature, density, age, and salinity. The topmost 35 metres (115 ft) or so of the Dead Sea had a salinity that ranged between 300 and 400 parts per thousand and a temperature that swung between 19 °C (66 °F) and 37 °C (99 °F). Underneath a zone of transition, the lowest level of the Dead Sea had waters of a consistent 22 °C (72 °F) temperature and complete saturation of sodium chloride (NaCl). Since the water near the bottom is saturated, the salt precipitates out of solution onto the sea floor.
Mekong RIver(Tibetan Dza-chu; Chinese Lancang Jiang; Thai Mae Nam Khong), river in southeastern Asia, the longest river in the region. From its source in China's Qinghai Province near the border with Tibet, the Mekong flows generally southeast to the South China Sea, a distance of 4,200 km (2,610 mi). The Mekong crosses Yunnan Province, China, forms the border between Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and Laos and most of the border between Laos and Thailand, and flows across Cambodia and southern Vietnam, emptying into the South China Sea. In the upper course are steep descents and swift rapids, but the river is navigable south of Louangphrabang, Laos. French explorer
for 2,550 km (1,580 mi); its average width is 70 km (40 mi). The Mariana is one of many deepwater ocean trenches formed by the geologic process of subduction (see Plate Tectonics). Near its southwestern extremity, 340 km (210 mi) southwest of the island of Guam, is the deepest point on earth. This point, the Challenger Deep, is estimated to be 11,033 m (36,198 ft) deep. The Challenger Deep was named after HMS Challenger II, the vessel of those who discovered the point in 1948.
San Juanico Strait in Samar, island, eastern Philippines, separated on the northwest from the island of Luzon by San Bernardino Strait and on the south from the island of Leyte by San Juanico Strait and Leyte Gulf. Agricultural products include hemp, rice, coconuts, and sweet potatoes. Catbalogan, on the western coast, is a major city. Area, 13,100 sq km (5,100 sq mi); population (1990) 1,246,722. Strait of Malacca, body of water, southeastern Asia, separating the Malay Peninsula on the northeast from the island of Sumatra on the southwest, and connecting the Andaman Sea, an arm of the Indian Ocean, on the north with the South China Sea on the south. The strait, 800 km (500 mi) long, extends in a southeast-northwest direction and varies in width from 60 km to 480 km (from 40 to 300 mi).
Mariana Trench, depression in the floor of the Pacific Ocean, the deepest seafloor depression in the world. It is located just east of the Mariana Islands in the western part of the ocean basin. The Mariana Trench is an arc-shaped valley extending generally northeast to southwest
Bay of Bengal, arm of the Indian Ocean, between India on the west and Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) and the Malay Peninsula on the east. In the southeast, the Andaman and Nicobar islands, formed by the peaks of a submerged mountain range, separate the Bay of Bengal from the Andaman Sea. The area experiences monsoons in both winter and summer, followed by cyclones in spring and fall. Many large rivers flow into the bay, including the Ganges and the Brahmaputra on the north. The two rivers have deposited a huge layer of sediments, called the Ganges Fan, about 2,000 km (about 1,000 mi) into the bay. The Mahānadī, the Godāvari, the Krishna, and the Kāveri (Cauvery) rivers flow in on the west.
Mayon Volcano, active volcano in the Philippines, on the Bicol Peninsula, southeastern Luzon Island, about 16 km (10 mi) north of the city of Legaspi in Albay Province. Mayon Volcano rises 2,525 m (8,284 ft) and has a circumference of nearly 130 km (80 mi) at its base. It is at the center of Mayon Volcano National Park and is a major tourist attraction in part because it is the most perfectly symmetrical volcano in the world. Mayon Volcano is crowned by a halo of vapor that gives off a bright glow at night. The first recorded eruption of the volcano was in the early 17th century. Since then it has erupted more than 30 times. The most destructive eruption was in 1814, when the nearby town of Cagsawa was buried. Mayon Volcano erupted in February 1993, spewing tons of volcanic material onto neighboring farms and killing 67 people.
Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, rises as a cone to a height of 3,776 m (12,387 ft) above sea level, with the apex broken by a cone-shaped crater 610 m (2000 ft) in diameter. The southern slopes extend to the shore of Suruga Bay, and the isolated peak can be seen from many of the outlying prefectures. The mountain is part of FujiHakone-Izu National Park, the most popular vacation area in Japan. According to legend, Fuji arose from the plain during a single night in 286 BC. Geologically the mountain is much older than the legend asserts. The most recent recorded eruption of Fuji lasted from November 24, 1707, until January 22, 1708. Certain religious sects regard the mountain as a sacred place. Fuji is visited annually by thousands of pilgrims from all parts of the country, and numerous shrines and temples are on its slopes. Fuji is also revered in Japanese literature and art (see Japanese Art and Architecture).
Taal Volcano Island (Philippines), uninhabited volcanic island in the northern Philippines, located in Lake Taal, on the southern part of Luzon Island. Volcano Island lies in Batangas Province, 80 km (50 mi) south of Manila. Lake Taal occupies the crater of an extinct volcano, out of which rises Volcano Island, on top of which rises the active Taal Volcano. Taal Volcano also has a lake in its crater. Volcano Island has an elevation of 311 m (1,020 ft) above sea level. Taal Volcano has erupted at least 33 times since 1572, often taking lives and causing significant damage. It last erupted in 1977. Of the Philippines' 21 active volcanoes Taal Volcano is considered the second most active, after Mayon Volcano. Fuji (mountain) or Fujiyama, also Fuji-san, celebrated dormant volcano of Japan, southern Honshū Island, near Tokyo.
the 3rd century BC, and for impressive stone and earthen fortifications built along a different northern border in the 15th and 16th centuries AD, long after the ancient structure had mostly disappeared. Ruins of the later wall are found today along former border areas from Bo Hai (a gulf of the Yellow Sea) in the east to Gansu Province in the west. The Great Wall is visited often near Beijing, at a site called Ju-yong-guan, and at its eastern and western extremes. The Great Wall is probably China's bestknown monument and one of its most popular tourist destinations. In 1987 it was designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The Great Wall is not a single, continuous structure. Rather, it consists of a network of walls and towers that leaves the frontier open in places. Estimates of the total length of the monument vary, depending on which sections are included and how they are measured. The Great Wall is about 2,400 km (about 1,500 mi) long, according to conservative estimates. Other estimates cite a length of 6,400 km (4,000 mi), or even longer. Some long-standing myths about the wall have been dispelled in recent decades. The existing wall is not several thousand years old, nor is it, as has been widely asserted, visible with the naked eye from outer space. (Astronauts have confirmed this. However, some of the wall is discernible in special radar images taken by satellites.)
The Great Wall of China , popular name for a semi-legendary wall built to protect China’s northern border in
(Persian for “Elect of the Palace”), who died in 1631. Building commenced about 1632. The mausoleum was complete by about 1643 and the surrounding complex of buildings and gardens was complete by about 1653. Situated on the southern bank of the Yamuna River, the white marble mausoleum is composed of four identical facades, each containing a large central arch 33 m (108 ft) high. A large bulb-shaped dome, over 73 m (240 ft) tall, rises over the center, with four smaller domes surrounding it. The building is raised on a square podium with a minaret (tower) at each corner. It is flanked by two red sandstone buildings—a mosque and its replica, the Jawab (Answer), a building of which the main function is visual balance. Visitors approach the Taj Mahal through an imposing red sandstone gate, decorated with inscriptions from the Muslim holy book, the Qur'an (Koran). The gate and accompanying walls also contain a vast, geometrically laid out garden, 305 m (1,002 ft) on each side. The enclosed garden, itself a Muslim symbol of paradise, is centered on a large, raised pool. Canals divide it into four equal parts, each containing flower beds, fountains, and cypress trees (symbols of death).
Taj Mahal, a mausoleum in Agra, India, regarded as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world. The Mughal emperor Shah Jahan had it built in memory of his wife, Arjumand Banu Bagam, known as Mumtaz Mahal
Angkor Wat, Renowned Hindu temple complex at Angkor, the capital of the Khmer Empire of Cambodia from the early 9th century to the mid-15th century, now a destination for Buddhist pilgrims. Built for King Suryavarman II in the 12th century, Angkor Wat is the most famous temple in Cambodia and is probably the largest religious monument ever constructed.
The complex, built of both sandstone and laterite (a dense, porous, iron-bearing soil that can be quarried like stone), forms a rectangle of about 850 m by 1000 m (2800 by 3800 ft). It was constructed to serve both as a sepulchre for Suryavarman II, whose regime had adopted some aspects of Hinduism, and as a celebration of his status as an incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. As a sepulchre the temple was built facing west (the direction taken by the dead in going to their next life, in Hindu belief), rather than facing east, which was traditional for Hindu temples. Taking more than 30 years to build, the layout of the complex was conceived as an architectural allegory of the Hindu cosmology (world concept). At the center of the complex stands a temple with five lotus-shaped towers, a larger central tower, and four smaller surrounding towers. These represent the five peaks of Mount Meru—according to Hindu belief, the mountain where the gods reside and from which all creation comes. The central tower enclosure is surrounded by three square, terraced enclosures that rise toward the central towers. The series of terraces symbolizes the mountain ranges that in Hindu cosmology surround the habitable world. The entire complex is surrounded by a moat over 5 km in length, representing the primordial ocean, over which extends an elaborate 475-m causeway, leading to the main of four gateways into the temple complex. The causeway was decorated on each side with carvings depicting the divine serpents, known as nagas.
Terraces are commonly referred to by Filipinos as the "Eighth Wonder of the World". It is commonly thought that the terraces were built with minimal equipment, largely by hand. The terraces are located approximately 1500 meters (5000 ft) above sea level and cover 10,360 square kilometers (about 4000 square miles) of mountainside. They are fed by an ancient irrigation system from the rainforests above the terraces. It is said that if the steps are put end to end it would encircle half the globe.
Borobudur, Hindu-Buddhist temple, near Magelang on the island of Java in Indonesia. Built in the 9th century under the Sailendra dynasty of Java, it was abandoned in the 11th century and partially excavated by archaeologists in the early 20th century. Influenced by the Gupta architecture of India, the temple is constructed on a hill 46 m (150 ft) high and consists of eight steplike stone terraces, one on top of the other. The first five terraces are square and surrounded by walls adorned with Buddhist sculpture in bas-relief; the upper three are circular, each with a circle of bell-shaped stupas (Buddhist shrines).. The way to the summit extends through some 4.8 km (some 3 mi) of passages and stairways
Temple of Tōdai-ji, Nara The temple of Tōdai-ji is located in the city of Nara, the first permanent capital of Japan. Built in the 8th century and reconstructed in 1692, it is one of the oldest and most important Buddhist temples in Japan. It is also one of the world’s largest structures made of wood.
The Banaue Rice Terraces are 2000year old terraces that were carved into the mountains of Ifugao in the Philippines by ancestors of the indigenous people. The Rice
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