Two very different sides of the Himalayas. Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory shows the remarkable contrast between the sparsely populated Tibetan Plateau and the densely populated North Indian River Plain.
The brightly lit network of cities south of the Himalayas includes New Delhi, India, and Lahore, Pakistan. Enriched by the Indus and the Ganges rivers, this agriculturally fertile area is one of the most densely populated regions on Earth. It is currently home to more than 400 million people. Two very different sides of the Himalayas.
The Tibetan Plateau, also known as the “Roof of the World,” is located 14,764 feet above sea level on the other side of the Himalayas. The high altitude conditions are not conducive to extensive human settlement, and the Indigenous people who live on the Tibetan Plateau are acclimated to the harsh climate.
Lifted by the subduction of the Indian tectonic plate under the Eurasian Plate, the Himalayan mountain range runs west-northwest to east-southeast in an arc 2,400 km (1,500 mi) long. Its western anchor, Nanga Parbat, lies just south of the northernmost bend of the Indus river. Its eastern anchor, Namcha Barwa, is just west of the great bend of the Yarlung Tsangpo River (upper stream of the Brahmaputra River). The Himalayan range is bordered on the northwest by the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush ranges.
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory