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Palghat Gap

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: TH

 Context: The Palghat Gap in the Western Ghats is a significant break in the mountain range, measuring about 40 km wide.


About the Gap:

Surrounding hillsIt is characterized by the steep Nilgiris and Anamalai hills on either side, both rising above 2,000 meters above sea level.
ImportanceGateway into the State of Kerala for roads and railways
River flowing through itBharathappuzha river
VegetationUnlike the tropical rainforests found in other parts of the Western Ghats, the vegetation in the Palghat Gap is classified as dry evergreen forest.
Shear ZoneGeologically, the Palghat Gap is a shear zone running from east to west.


Shear zones are weak regions in the Earth’s crust, which occasionally result in tremors felt in the Coimbatore region.

OriginThe origin of the Gap can be traced back to the separation of Australia and Africa from the Gondwana landmass, causing continental drift.
Biogeographic distinctionsSeveral species of flora and fauna are found only on one side of the Gap. Also, the Mitochondrial DNA of elephants on the Nilgiris side differ from those in Anamalai and Periyar sanctuaries
RainfallThe Western Ghats north of the Palghat Gap receive more annual rainfall, but the south experiences rainfall more evenly distributed throughout the year.
Biodiversity South of the GapAbundant species richness and diversity.


Reason: The warm weather, evenly distributed rainfall, proximity to the equator, and moist air

Other gapsThal Ghat Pass (Kasara Ghat) (connects Mumbai to Nashik); Bhor Ghat Pass (connects Mumbai to Pune via Khopoli); Amba Ghat Pass (connects: Ratnagiri district to Kolhapur); Naneghat Pass (connects Pune district with Junnar city); Amboli Ghat Pass (connects Sawantwadi of Maharashtra to Belgaum of Karnataka)