Owing to the high barrier which shuts off almost all Syria from the sea, and precipitates vapours mainly on the western slope, little of the land is highly productive without irrigation, except the narrow littoral strip which was the ancient Phoenicia, and the small deltas, such as that of Latakia (Laodicea).
At the two extremities of New Caledonia, parallel longitudinal ranges of mountains enclose valleys; for the rest the island consists essentially of confused masses and ranges of mountains, rising to an extreme elevation of 5387 ft., the plains being chiefly the deltas of rivers.
The District of Ctttack lies in the centre of Orissa, occupying the deltas of the Mahanadi and Brahmani, together with a hilly tract inland.
Coast of the Black Sea between the deltas of the Kizil and Yeshil Irmaks.
The great advance in the interpretation of land forms now makes it possible to introduce as thoroughly explanatory a description of these fertile plains as of forms earlier familiar, such as sand dunes, deltas and sea cliffs.
The ordinary triangular form of deltas, due to the smoothing of the delta front by sea action, is here wanting, because of the weakness of sea action in comparison with the strength of the current in each of the four distributaries or passes into which the river divides near its mouth.
It is evident from the foregoing remarks, that while even the smallest stream may make deposits of alluvial character it is in the flood-plains and deltas of large rivers that the great alluvial deposits are to be found.
In 1898 there were ten of these systems, with an irrigation area, as shown by the accompanying table, of 2,685,915 acres, and a revenue of Rx.1,163,268: In the three great deltas, and the small southern one that depends on the Srivaikuntam weir over the river Tumbraparni, extension and improvement works have been carried on.
The empire included within these boundaries is rich in varieties of scenery and climate, from the highest mountains in the world to vast river deltas raised only a few inches above the level of the sea.
In large part these consist of plants which grew near the margins of the old rivers, and which were carried down by floods, and deposited in the alluvial plains, deltas and estuarine areas of the old Gondwana period.
The name of rice has from time immemorial been so closely associated with Indian agriculture that it is difficult to realize how comparatively small an area is planted with this crop. With the exception of the deltas of the great rivers and the long strip of land fringing the western coast, rice may be called an occasional crop throughout the remainder of the peninsula.
In Bombay and Madras almost all the irrigation systems, except in the deltas of the chief rivers, are dependent on reservoirs or " tanks," which collect the rainfall of the adjacent hills.
Until about 27 B.C., when it was overthrown by an unknown king of the Andhra dynasty of the Satavahanas, whose power, originating in the deltas of the Godavari and Kistna rivers, by A.D.
On the death of Asoka in 231 B.C. the empire of the Mauryas broke up, and their heritage in the west fell to the Andhra dynasty of the Satavahanas of Paithan on the Godavari, a Dravidian family whose dominion by 200 B.C. stretched across the peninsula from the deltas of the Godavari and Kistna to Nasik and the Western Ghats.
These and the extensive mud flats and deltas at their mouths are often flooded, by which their fertility is increased, though at a heavy cost to the cultivator.
In the deltas of shoal rivers, with a strong tide or current and no land visible, a 5 lb lead is substituted for the log-ship; the lead rests on the bottom, and the speed is obtained in a manner similar to that previously described.
==Agriculture and other Industries== The cultivation of rice, which is grown mainly in the small deltas along the coast and in some districts gives two crops annually, and fishing, together with fish-salting and the preparation of nuoc-mam, a sauce made from decaying fish, constitute the chief industries of Annam.
During Pleistocene times all these lacustrine basins were occupied by lakes of much greater depthand la~ger size; the outlines of the eastern (Lake Bonneville) and the western (Lake Lahontan) water bodies are well recorded by shore lines and deltas on the enclosing slopes, hundreds of feet above the present lake surfaces; the abandoned shore lines, as studied by G.
Orissa embraces the rich deltas of the Mahanadi and the neighbouring rivers, bounded by the Bay of Bengal on the S.E., and walled in on the N.W.
On the north, excepting the deltas formed by the Kizil and Yeshil Irmaks, there are no considerable coast plains, no good harbours except Sinope and Vona, and no islands.
In the deltas of southern India irrigation is only practised during the monsoon season.
Across the apex of the deltas are built great weirs (that of the Godaveri being 22 m.
In the Madras presidency and in Mysore irrigation has long assumed a great importance, and the engineering works of the three great deltas of the Godavari, Kistna and Cauvery, the outcome of the genius and indefatigable enthusiasm of Sir Arthur Cotton, have always been quoted as showing what a boon irrigation is to a country.