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Page:Provincial geographies of India (Volume 1).djvu/49

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MOUNTAINS, HILLS, AND PLAINS

ocean now is the height above sea level of the Panjab plain east of the Jhelam is nowhere above 1000 feet. Delhi and Lahore are both just above the 700 feet line. The hills mentioned above are humble time-worn outliers of the very ancient Aravalli system, to which the hills of Rajputana belong. Kirana and Sangla were already of enormous age, when they were islands washed by the waves of the Tertiary sea. A description of the different parts of the vast Panjab plain, its great stretches of firm loam, and its tracts of sand and sand hills, which the casual observer might regard as pure desert, will be given in the paragraphs devoted to the different districts.

The Salt Range.— The tract west of the Jhelam, and bounded on the south by the Salt Range cis-Indus, and trans-Indus by the lines mentioned above, is of a more varied character. Time worn though the Salt Range has become by the waste of ages, it still rises at Sakesar, near its western extremity, to a height of 5000 feet. The eastern part of the range is mostly in the Jhelam district, and there the highest point is Chail (3700 feet). The hill of Tilla (3242 feet), which is a marked feature of the landscape looking westwards from Jhelam cantonment, is on a spur running northeast from the main chain. The Salt Range is poorly wooded, the dwarf acacia or phuldhi (Acacia modesta), the olive, and the sanattha shrub (Dodonea viscosa) are the commonest species. But these jagged and arid hills include some not infertile valleys, every inch of which is put under crop by the crowded population. To geologists the range is of special interest, including as it does at one end of the scale Cambrian beds of enormous antiquity and at the other rocks of Tertiary age. Embedded in the Cambrian strata there are great deposits of rock salt at Kheora, where the Mayo mine is situated.