Places in news | Prelims Capsules 2021

‘Places in news series‘ is a weekly initiative by Forumias. In this series we bring you highly detailed & visually rich maps of the places that have been in news recently. Go through these maps and prepare yourself for the high scoring mapping section of UPSC Prelims.

Sangay volcano

Why in news?

Ecuador’s Sangay volcano erupted recently, giving away clouds of ash as high as 8,500 meters into the sky. The Sangay volcano’s previous moderate eruptions had little impact on Ecuador’s population, as the volcano is located in a jungle in the Morona Santiago province.

Places in news 2021 - upsc

Sangay volcano

  • Sangay is an active stratovolcano in central Ecuador. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the world.
    • Stratovolcanoes or composite volcanoes are conical volcanoes. They are composed of multiple layers of intermediate to lava, ash, and other volcanic debris.
  • Location: Sangay Volcano is located on the eastern edge of the Andes Mountains.
    • The Andes is the longest mountain range in the world. It boasts some of the highest peaks. The range is also known for its volcanoes.
    • The Andes extend from north to south through seven South American countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina.
  • Sangay Volcano hosts a significant biological community. Therefore, since 1983, its ecological community has been protected as part of the Sangay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Places in news 2021 - UPSC

Ecuador [Capital: Quito]

  • Ecuador, part of the Pacific Rim’s “Ring of Fire” region, has eight volcanoes in its territory
  • The first scientific expedition to measure the circumference of the Earth, led by Charles-Marie de La Condamine of France, was based in Ecuador
  • Research in Ecuador by the renowned naturalists Alexander von Humboldt of Prussia and Charles Darwin of England helped establish basic theories of modern geography, ecology, and evolutionary biology
  • Ecuador derives its name from the Equator which passes through it.
  • Bordering countries to Ecuador:
    • Colombia to the north
    • Peru to the east
    • Pacific Ocean to the west
  • Please note that the Equator doesn’t pass through Peru, although it may seem like it at first glance.
  • It includes the Pacific archipelago of the Galapagos Islands
Places in news 2021

Galapagos islands

  • It is a double World Heritage site (both land and sea are protected).
    • In 1978 UNESCO designated Galapagos as the first World Heritage site and the Galapagos Marine Reserve received the same status in 1998
  • The islands are famous for the famed giant tortoise, whose average lifespan of 100years makes it the longest living vertebrate on earth
  • Galapagos penguins are the only penguin species native to the Northern Hemisphere.
  • The name of Charles Darwin and his famous book the Origin of Species will forever be linked with the Galapagos Islands. Although he was only in the Galapagos for five weeks in 1835, it was the wildlife that he saw there that inspired him to develop his Theory of Evolution
  • The endemic Galapagos marine iguana is the only lizard to swim in the ocean.

Carmichael project by Adani in Australia

Why in news?

Adani is making one of the world’s largest new coal investments in the Carmichael coal mine project in Queensland.

Places in news 2021 - upsc

Relevant facts

  • Carmichael is a thermal coal mine under construction in the Galilee Basin in Central Queensland, which has been approved by the Queensland and federal governments. The project was given the go-ahead in June 2019, and construction began later that year
  • Adani’s $16.5 billion dollar investment in the project has sparked debate. Being a primary buyer of this project, India would also face its environmental consequences.
  • It would be the largest coal mine in Australia and one of the largest in the world. It will produce 60 million tonnes of coal per year at full capacity. The mine is expected to produce 2.3 billion tonnes over the next 60 years.
  • The Carmichael rail network will construct about 200 km of rail track to transfer coal from the Carmichael mine to the Port of Abbot Point.
  • Carmichael mine is on Wangan and Jaganlingou These are aboriginal tribes and indigenous natives of Australia’s Queensland region. They are also the traditional owners of the land in the Galilee basin.
    • They are in opposition to this project

Note: For a detailed analysis of the issue, kindly click this link

Galilee Basin

  • The Galilee Basin is a vast thermal coal basin in the central region of the Australian state of Queensland. It is one of the largest untapped coal reserves on the planet.
  • There are currently nine coal mega-mines proposed for the Galilee Basin, which together make it the second-biggest fossil fuel expansion proposed anywhere in the world (after Western China).
  • The development of the Galilee Basin is the driver for the proposed expansion of coal ports along the Great Barrier Reef coast, which is causing international concern


This location plays an important role with respect to the Indian monsoon.

  • In normal times, the tropical South Pacific Ocean experiences high pressure, while the tropical Indian Ocean experiences low pressure. However, these pressure conditions are sometimes reversed, and results in low pressure in the Pacific and alternatively high pressure in the Indian Ocean. This pattern is termed as Southern Oscillation
  • It has a period varying from 2-7 years and is measured with Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) by measuring the pressure difference between two points in the Pacific Ocean (Tahiti and Darwin). A negative value of SOI implies high pressure over the north Indian Ocean during winter and a poor monsoon

Note: Detailed explanation of the entire monsoon process is not possible here. You’ll learn more about that in GS Geography.

Places in news 2021 - upsc

Major waterbodies surrounding Australia

Important bodies of water that surround Australia are the

  • Indian Ocean
  • Timor Sea
  • Arafura Sea
  • Gulf of Carpentaria
  • the Coral Sea
  • the Tasman Sea

Great Barrier Reef

  • The world’s most extensive coral reef ecosystem, the Great Barrier Reef is a globally outstanding and significant entity. Practically the entire ecosystem was inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage in 1981
  • The reef is located in the Coral Sea (North-East Coast), off the coast of Queensland,
  • It can be seen from outer space and is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms

Note: you can read more about GBR here


Yemeni Civil war

Why in news?

Joe Biden declared that the US will no longer back the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen. Yemen Civil war resulted in the loss of thousands of lives and a humanitarian crisis. A reconciliation is urgently required.

Background of Yemen civil war-

  1. The civil war between the Yemeni government and Iran-backed Houthi rebels began in 2014. The Houthi rebels gradually took over the capital Sana’a.
  2. In 2015, the war intensified. Saudi Arabia and 8 other Arab nations, supported by the US, the UK, and France, launched airstrikes against the Houthis. This attack was aimed to restore the Hadi government in Yemen.
  3. The Saudi-led coalition imposed a blockade on Yemen, in the hope of weakening the Houthis.
  4. Despite the blockade, the Houthis continued to amass weapons, including technologically sophisticated drones. They used these weapons to strike Saudi targets across the border.
  5. The Saudi-led coalition failed to eject the Houthis as the rebel group still controls the city

Note: You can read more about the Yemeni civil war in this article

Important locations

  • Yemen
  • Surrounding countries
  • Surrounding waterbodies


Places in news 2021 - upsc

  • Yemen is a country situated at the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula.
Places in news 2021 - upsc
  • Countries bordering Yemen: Oman & Saudi Arabia
  • Major waterbodies surrounding Yemen:
    • Red Sea
    • Bab al Mandeb Strait
    • Gulf of Aden
    • Arabian Sea
  • Major island: Socotra
    • It is Yemen’s most important and largest island
  • Bab-al-Mandeb connects the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and separates Yemen from the African countries of Djibouti and Eritrea
  • A part of Rubʿ al-Khali desert crosses over from Saudi Arabia into western Oman and eastern Yemen.
    • This desert is the largest area of continuous sand in the world i.e., the world’s largest sand desert
  • No important line of latitude (Equator, Tropics, etc.) passes through Yemen

Shahtoot Dam

Why in news?

India and Afghanistan have signed an agreement to build the Shahtoot Dam in the Afghan capital

Places in news 2021 - upsc

Shahtoot Dam:

  • It is a proposed dam in the Kabul river basin.
    • It is one of the five river basins in Afghanistan.
  • Purpose:
    • The dam will provide drinking, irrigation, and Environmental water for Kabul province.
    • It will also provide water for irrigation to nearby areas, rehabilitate the existing irrigation and drainage network. Moreover, it will help in flood protection and management efforts.
  • Significance: This is the second major dam being built by India in Afghanistan, after the India – Afghanistan Friendship Dam [Salma Dam] which was inaugurated in 2016.

Relevant facts

  • Other large infrastructure projects which India has already completed include
    • Construction of a 218-km road between Elara and Zaranj (on the Iranian border), which provides alternative connectivity for Afghanistan through Iran
    • India–Afghanistan friendship dam (also known as the Salma dam); and
    • Afghan Parliament building which was inaugurated in 2015
  • Afghanistan is a completely landlocked country

Does Afghanistan share a border with India?

  • As per the Ministry of Home Affairs, India does share a 106 Km boundary with Afghanistan. The part of J&K that shares a border with Afghanistan is under PoK (Pakistani occupied Kashmir)
  • Note: Remember, as a civil service aspirant your position should be similar to the official position of Govt of India on any issue.

Bordering countries

  • India
  • China
  • Tajikistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Turkmenistan
  • Iran
  • Pakistan

This post is a part of our Prelims Capsules initiative, for other posts Click Here

To read subject-wise current affairsClick Here


Print Friendly and PDF