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Day 85 – Q 5. What is badland topography? How are they formed? Discuss their distribution in India.

5. What is badland topography? How are they formed? Discuss their distribution in India.

बैडलैंड स्थलाकृति क्या है? वे कैसे बनते हैं? भारत में उनके वितरण पर चर्चा करें।


Badlands are some of the best examples of naturally occurring, erosion-shaped terrains on earth. They are simply clay soils in dry areas that have been eroded to a significant degree, so as to form their iconic shapes and topography.


  • Badlands are erosional landforms of highly dissected morphology that are pervasive on soft bedrock in a variety of climate conditions. Although these systems share common geomorphological features, badlands may show diverse erosive activity, age and dynamic behaviour, which complicates the analysis of the reasons for badland formation.
  • Badlands develop in arid to semiarid areas where the bedrock is poorly cemented and rainfall generally occurs as cloudbursts. The dry, granular surface material and light vegetation is swept from the slopes during showers, leaving the gullies bare.
  • Badland are areas cut and eroded by many deep, tortuous gullies with intervening saw-toothed divides. The gullies extend from main rivers back to tablelands about 150 m (500 feet) and higher. 
  • The gully bottoms increase in gradient from almost flat near the main rivers to nearly vertical at the edges of the tablelands. Because the rocks are not uniform in character, differences in erosion result in stair-step profiles. 
  • The joining and separating of the gullies cause many isolated irregular spires, small flat-topped buttes, or mesas, and produce a landscape of jagged, fluted, and seemingly inaccessible hills.
  • Badlands have also been formed artificially by mining operations and by poor agricultural practices that remove topsoil from the land.

The Distribution of Badlands in India:

  • According to one estimate, most of the badlands in India, which are presently sculptured by rills, gullies and ravines, were once covered by thick deciduous forest. 
  • The factors and processes of deforestation throughout the country were industrialisation, railway building, extension of settlement and agricultural activities.
  • In Uttar Pradesh, the problem of ravine erosion and formation of badlands has been noticed along the Yamuna. Chambal, Gomati and their tributaries flowing through the districts of Etawah. Mathura, Jalaun, Jhansi, Hamirpur, Banda, Agra and Mirzapur. 
  • In Madhya Pradesh, badlands are seen along Chambal, Sindh and their tributaries critically affecting districts like Shivpur. Morena. Bhind, Gwalior, Ujjain and Mandsor. 
  • In Rajasthan, the problem of gully erosion is most acute along the Chambal  and its tributaries like Banas, Kalisindh, Parbati, Mej and Morel. Districts like Kota, Bundi, Sawai. Madhopur, Tonk, Jhaleswar. Jaipur and Bharatpur districts are most affected. 
  • Bihar also has significant areas under ravenous lands in Hazaribagh, Ranchi. Singhbhum district of Chotanagpur plateau. 
  • In West Bengal, gully eroded and shallow ravinous badlands occur in the fringe areas of Chotanagpur plateau and adjoining Rarh upland. The Chotanagpur plateau consist four erosion surfaces and interconnecting scarps that have been marked by three intermittent uplifts from early Tertiary to Pleistocene.


In light of the fact that the country is losing about 8,000 hectares of land to ravines every year, it becomes necessary to develop capability to fight deforestation and other factors affecting badland formation and help safeguard the integrity of land in India.

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