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.
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).
The District of Ctttack lies in the centre of Orissa, occupying the deltas of the Mahanadi and Brahmani, together with a hilly tract inland.
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.