Palghat Gap

Palghat Gap


  • It is often called as significant discontinuity in the Western Ghats.
  • The Palghat Gap is about 40 km wide, with the steep Nilgiris and Anamalai hills, both rising above 2,000 msl, on either side.

  • The Palghat Gap has historically been important as a significant gateway into the State of Kerala.
  • It is a corridor for both roads and railways that connects Coimbatore with Palakkad.
  • The Bharathappuzha river flows through it.
  • The vegetation in the Palghat Gap is classified as dry evergreen forest.
  • It has been speculated that one reason for the biogeographic distinctions in species in north and south of the Gap could be due to an ancient river or an incursion of the sea in the distant past.
  • Elephant populations on the Nilgiris side differ in their mitochondrial DNA from elephants in the Anamalai and the Periyar sanctuaries.

Geological upheaval:

  • The Gap is a geological shear zone that runs from east to west.
  • Shear zones are weak regions in the earth’s crust.
  • This is the reason why tremors are sometimes felt in Coimbatore.
  • The origin of the Palghat Gap also stems from the drift of continental shelves after Australia and Africa broke off from the Gondwana landmass.
  • India and Madagascar remained as one landmass until large­scale volcanic activity split the two, the split occurring where the Palghat Gap is located.
  • This is mirrored in the Ranotsara Gap on the eastern face of Madagascar.

Syllabus: Prelims