Sunday, 21 October 2007

'Down' to Calcutta

After almost two weeks crossing the north of India in a predominantly easterly direction, Mark is now finally heading south for Calcutta....After crossing the last major tributary of the Ganges, the Kosi, he is now in the state of West Bengal only a few miles from the border with Bangladesh.

The last stretch through north eastern Bihar today produced some good high resolution imagery and views such as this one ....

There is just SO much geography in that view , much of it finding expression in the interaction of the physical and human environments.

After 11 days of 'crossing' northern India with Mark, the one recurring theme, particularly in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, has been rivers and water. The lives of most people (who in this part of India are rural dwellers) are governed by seasonality of rainfall and by the regimes of the Ganges and its tributaries. These massive rivers are both a blessing and a curse bringing fertile silt to support huge populations and floods which help spread the silt but threaten lives. The flatness of the terrain and the deposition of alluvium results in river channels which are very dynamic ...... I have seen more ox bow lakes in the Ganges plain in the last two weeks than I have seen in my life! I will certainly know where to look for examples the next time I am teaching them.

Back to the view above. This is the question I might set senior pupils based on an examination of that view..... "Explain how the physical environment influences the pattern of land use shown in the photograph?" Can you answer it?!

And finally, before we head for Calcutta, here is a view I captured a few days ago which shows the seasonality of the climate in this part of India...The view shows an area where low res gives way to high res imagery. However, the left part of the view was clearly captured in the wet season (June to September)while the right hand portion was photographed in the dry season . What a difference a bit of rain makes!

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