Location of the Iranian Plateau near the boundaries between the Eurasian Plate and the Arabian/Indian plates
From the Caspian in the northwest to Balochistan
in the south-east, the Iranian Plateau extends for close to 2,000 km. It encompasses the greater part of Iran
, all of Afghanistan
, and Pakistan
west of the Indus River
containing some 3,700,000 square kilometres (1,400,000 sq mi). In spite of being called a "plateau
", it is far from flat but contains several mountain ranges, the highest peak being Damavand
in the Alborz
at 5610 m, and the Dasht-e Lut
east of Kerman
in Central Iran falling below 300 m.
In geology, the plateau region of Iran
primarily formed of the accretionary Gondwanan terranes
between the Turan platform
to the north and the Main Zagros Thrust, the suture zone between the northward moving Arabian plate
and the Eurasian continent, is called the Iranian plateau. It is a geologically well-studied area because of general interest in continental collision zones, and because of Iran's long history of research in geology
, particularly in economic geology
(although Iran's major oil reserves
are not in the plateau).
The Iranian plateau
in geology refers to a geographical area north of the great folded mountain belts resulting from the collision of the Arabian Plate
with the Eurasian Plate
. In this definition, the Iranian Plateau does not cover southwestern Iran.
The Northwestern Iranian Plateau, where the Pontic
and Taurus Mountains
converge, is rugged country with higher elevations, a more severe climate, and greater precipitation than are found on the Anatolian Plateau. The region is known as the Anti-Taurus
, and the average elevation of its peaks exceeds 3,000 m. Mount Ararat
, at 5,137 meters (16,854 ft) the highest point in Turkey
, is located in the Anti-Taurus. Lake Van
is situated in the mountains at an elevation of 1,546 meters (5,072 ft).
The headwaters of major rivers arise in the Anti-Taurus: the east-flowing Aras River
, which empties into the Caspian Sea
; the south-flowing Euphrates
join in Iraq
before emptying into the Persian Gulf
. Several small streams that empty into the Black Sea
or landlocked Lake Van also originate in these mountains. The Indus River
begins in the highlands of Tibet
and flows the length of Pakistan almost tracing the eastern edge of the Iranian plateau.
Southeast Anatolia lies south of the Anti-Taurus Mountains. It is a region of rolling hills and a broad plateau surface that extends into Syria. Elevations decrease gradually, from about 800 meters (2,600 ft) in the north to about 500 meters (1,600 ft) in the south. Traditionally, wheat
are the main crops of the region.
Northwest Iranian ranges
Central Iranian Plateau
Eastern Iranian ranges
Rivers and plains
In the Bronze Age, Elam
stretched across the Zagros mountains, connecting Mesopotamia
and the Iranian Plateau. The kingdoms of Aratta
, known from cuneiform
sources, may have been located in the Central Iranian Plateau. In classical antiquity the region was known as Persia
, due to the Persian Achaemenid dynasty
originating in Fars
. The Middle Persian Erān
(whence Modern Persian Irān
) began to be used in reference to the state (rather than as an ethnic designator) from the Sassanid
period (see Etymology of Iran
Archaeological sites and cultures of the Iranian plateau include:
The plateau has historical oak
forests. Oak forests are found around Shiraz
, and cypress
are also found, though the latter two are rare. As of 1920, poplar was harvested for making doors
. Elm was used for ploughs
. Other trees like acacia
, cypress, and Turkestan elm
were used for decorative purposes. Flower wise, the plateau can grow lilac
, and roses
and Cercis siliquastrum
are common, which are both used for basket weaving
The plateau is abundant with wildlife
, wild boars
, and mouflons
. These animals are mostly found in the wooded mountains of the plateau. The shores of the Caspian Sea
and the Persian Gulf
house aquatic birds such as seagulls
, and geese
. Deer, hedgehogs, foxes, and 22 species of rodents are found in semidesert, and palm squirrels and Asiatic black bears live in Baluchistan.
Wide variety of amphibians
such as toads, frogs
, racers, rat snakes (Ptyas), cat snakes (Tarbophis fallax), and vipers live the Baluchistan
region and along the slopes of the Elburz and Zagros mountains. 200 varieties of fish live in the Persian Gulf. 30 species of the most important commercial fish Sturgeon is found in the Caspian Sea.
The Iranian plateau harvests trees for making doors, ploughs, and baskets. Fruit
is grown also. Pears
, and peaches
were commonly seen in the 20th century. Almonds
are common in warmer areas. Dates
, and limes
are also grown. Other edibles include potatoes
, which were hard to grow until European settlement brought irrigation improvements. Other vegetables include cabbage
, and eggplants
- ^ Robert H. Dyson (2 June 1968). The archaeological evidence of the second millennium B.C. on the Persian plateau. ISBN 0-521-07098-8.
- ^ James Bell (1832). A System of Geography, Popular and Scientific. Archibald Fullarton. pp. 7, 284, 287, 288.
- ^ "Old Iranian Online", University of Texas College of Liberal Arts (retrieved 10 February 2007)
- ^ "Ancient Iran". Encyclopædia Britannica.
- ^ "Elamite language". Encyclopædia Britannica.
- ^ "Iranian Plateau". Peakbagger.com.
- ^ a b c Sykes, Percy (1921). A History of Persia. London: Macmillan and Company. pp. 75–76.
- ^ "Iran - Plant and animal life". britannica.com.
- ^ Zarubezhnaia Aziia: Fizicheskaia geografiia. Moscow, 1956.
- ^ Petrov, M. P. Iran: Fiziko-geograficheskii ocherk. Moscow, 1955.
Y. Majidzadeh, Sialk III and the Pottery Sequence at Tepe Ghabristan. The Coherence of the Cultures of the Central Iranian Plateau, Iran 19, 1981, 141–46.
Last edited on 26 April 2021, at 14:28
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