BALUCHISTAN 101 and order on the southern frontier to a degree that does not exist abutment. The massif of the Takht is a high tableland (about in the north. 8000 feet above sea-level), bounded on its eastern and western The central range of the Sulimanis is the dominant feature in the edges by high, rugged, and steep parallel ridges. The western geography of Northern Baluchistan. The central line or axis of ridge culminates on the north in the peak of Kaisargarh (11,300 the range lies a little east of the meridian of 70° E., and it is leet), and the eastern in a block, or detached headland, on the south, geologically composed of one or more great folds of the Cretaceous where rests the immortal “ziarat” or shrine (11,070 feet). This series. Towards the northern extremity of the range occur a group tableland is formed by a huge cap of coral limestone, estimated by of peaks, which together form an oblong block or “massif” (Iriesbach at from 4000 to 5000 feet in thickness. At each end amongst the neighbouring ridges known as “Kaisargarh” the tableland is rent by gorges which deepen, amidst stupendous amongst the Sherani clansmen who occupy it, and as the ‘ ‘ Takht- precipices, to the channel of the Draband or “Gat” on the north, i-Suliman ” (Solomon’s throne), generally, on the frontier, from the and ot the Dhana on the south. These two channels carry the rush fact of a celebrated shrine of that name existing near its southern of mountain streams from the western slopes of the massif right
Map of Baluchistan. across the axis of the mountains and through the intervening barrier of minor ridges to the plains of the Indus. The plateau is covered with a fairly thick growth of the chilghosa or “edible” pme, and a sprinkling of juniper, on the higher slopes. It was ascended and surveyed for the first time in 1883. I rom the summit of the Kaisargarh peak a magnificent view is obtained which practically embraces the whole width of Northern Baluchistan. Westwards, looking towards Afghanistan line upon hue of broken jagged ridges and ranges, folds in the Cretaceous senes overlaid by coarse sandstones and shales, follow each other m order, preserving their approximate parallelism until they touch the borders of Baluchistan. Immediately on the west of the Kaisargarh there towers the Shingarh mountain, a geological lepetition of the Kaisargarh ridge, black with pines towards the summit, and crowned with ciags of coral limestone. Beyond it are the gray outlines of the close-packed ridges which enclose the over reaches of the Zhob and the Kundar. As they pass away southwards this gridiron formation strikes with a gentle curve westwards, the narrow enclosed valleys widening out towards the sources of the rivers, where ages of denudation have worn down the folds and filled up the hollows with fruitful soil, until at last they touch the central water-divide, the key of the whole system, on the vuetta plateau. Thus the upper parts of the Zhob valley are
Walker & Cockerell sc.
comparatively open and fertile, with flourishing villages, and a cultivation which has been greatly developed under British rule, and are bounded by long sweeping gentle spurs clothed with wild olive woods containing trees of immense size. The lower reaches of the Zhob and Kundar are hemmed in by rugged limestone walls, serrated and banded with deep clefts and gorges, a wilderness of stony desolation. Looking eastwards from the Kaisargarh, one can again count the backs of innumerable minor ridges, smaller ■wrinkles or folds formed during a process of upheaval of the Sulimani mountains, at the close of a great volcanic epoch which has hardly yet ceased to give evidence of its existence. On the outside edge, facing the Indus plains, is a more strictly regular, but higher and more rugged, ridge of hills which marks the Siwaliks. The Baluch Siwaliks afford us strange glimpses into a recent geological past, when the same gigantic mammals roamed along the foot of these wild hills as once inhabited the tangled forests below the Himalaya. Between the Takht mountain and the Siwaliks, the intervening belt of ridge and furrow has been greatly denuded by transverse drainage—a system of drainage which we now know to have existed before the formation of the hills, and to have continued to cut through them as they gradually rose above the plain level. Where this intervening band is not covered by recent gravel deposits, it exhibits beds of limestone.
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