; French: [pla.to]
; plural plateaus
), also called a high plain
or a tableland
, is an area of a highland
consisting of flat terrain
, that is raised sharply above the surrounding area on at least one side. Often one or more sides have deep hills. Plateaus can be formed by a number of processes, including upwelling
, and erosion
by water and glaciers
. Plateaus are classified according to their surrounding environment as intermontane, piedmont, or continental. A few plateaus may have a small flat top while others have wide ones.
Plateaus can be formed by a number of processes, including upwelling of volcanicmagma
, extrusion of lava
, and erosion
by water and glaciers.
The underlining mechanism in forming plateaus from upwelling starts when magma rises from the mantle
, causing the ground to swell upward. In this way, large, flat areas of rock are uplifted to form a plateau. For plateaus formed by extrusion, the rock is built up from lava spreading outward from cracks and weak areas in the crust.
Plateaus can also be formed by the erosional processes of glaciers
on mountain ranges, leaving them sitting between the mountain ranges. Water can also erode mountains and other landforms down into plateaus. Dissected plateaus
are highly eroded plateaus cut by rivers and broken by deep narrow valleys. Computer modeling studies suggest that high[clarification needed]
plateaus may also be partially a result from the feedback between tectonic
deformation and dry climatic conditions created at the lee side of growing orogens
Plateaus are classified according to their surrounding environment.
The largest and highest plateau in the world is the Tibetan Plateau
, sometimes metaphorically described as the "Roof of the World
", which is still being formed by the collisions of the Indo-Australian
and Eurasian tectonic plates
. The Tibetan plateau covers approximately 2,500,000 km2
(970,000 sq mi), at about 5,000 m (16,000 ft) above sea level. The plateau is sufficiently high to reverse the Hadley cell
convection cycles and to drive the monsoons
towards the south.
Other major plateaus in Asia are: Najd
in the Arabian Peninsula
elevation 762 to 1,525 m (2,500 to 5,003 ft), Armenian Highlands
(150,000 sq mi), elevation 900–2,100 metres (3,000–6,900 ft)), Iranian plateau
(1,400,000 sq mi), elevation 300–1,500 metres (980–4,920 ft)), Anatolian Plateau
, Mongolian Plateau
(1,000,000 sq mi), elevation 1,000–1,500 metres (3,300–4,900 ft)), and the Deccan Plateau
(730,000 sq mi), elevation 300–600 metres (980–1,970 ft)).
In northern Arizona and southern Utah the Colorado Plateau is bisected
by the Colorado River
and the Grand Canyon
. How this came to be is that over 10 million years ago, a river was already there, though not necessarily on exactly the same course. Then, subterranean geological forces caused the land in that part of North America to gradually rise by about a centimeter per year for millions of years. An unusual balance occurred: the river that would become the Colorado River
was able to erode into the crust of the Earth at a nearly equal rate to the uplift of the plateau. Now, millions of years later, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is at an elevation of about 2,450 m (8,040 ft) above sea level
, and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is about 2,150 m (7,050 ft) above sea level. At its deepest, the Colorado River is about 1,830 m (6,000 ft) below the level of the North Rim.
Another high altitude plateau in North America is the Mexican Plateau
. With an area of 601,882 km2
(232,388 sq mi) and average height of 1,825 m, it is the home of more than 70 million people.
Tepuis can be considered minute plateaus and tend to be found as isolated entities rather than in connected ranges, which makes them the host of a unique array of endemic
plant and animal species. Some of the most outstanding tepuis are Neblina
and Mount Roraima
. They are typically composed of sheer blocks of Precambrian quartz arenite sandstone
that rise abruptly from the jungle, giving rise to spectacular natural scenery. Auyantepui
is the source of Angel Falls
, the world's tallest waterfall
The Colombian capital city of Bogota sits on an Andean plateau known as the Altiplano Cundiboyacense
roughly the size of Switzerland. Averaging a height of 2,600 m (8,500 ft) above sea level, this northern Andean plateau is situated in the country's eastern range and is divided into three main flat regions: the Bogotá savanna
, the valleys of Ubaté
, and the valleys of Duitama
Road to the ALMA
’s Operations Support Facility and then on further to the Chajnantor
Plateau at 5000 meters above sea level.
The parallel Sierra of Andes delimit one of the world highest plateaux: the Altiplano
, (Spanish for "high plain"), Andean Plateau or Bolivian Plateau. It lies in west-central South America, where the Andes are at their widest, is the most extensive area of high plateau on Earth outside of Tibet. The bulk of the Altiplano lies within Bolivian and Peruvian territory while its southern parts lie in Chile. The Altiplano plateau hosts several cities like Puno, Oruro, El Alto and La Paz the administrative seat of Bolivia. Northeastern Altiplano is more humid than the Southwestern, the latter of which hosts several salares
, or salt flats, due to its aridity. At the Bolivia-Peru border lies Lake Titicaca
, the largest lake in South America.
The highest African plateau is the Ethiopian Highlands
which cover the central part of Ethiopia. It forms the largest continuous area of its altitude in the continent, with little of its surface falling below 1500 m (4,921 ft), while the summits reach heights of up to 4550 m (14,928 ft). It is sometimes called the Roof of Africa due to its height and large area.
Another example is the Highveld
which is the portion of the South African inland plateau which has an altitude above approximately 1500 m, but below 2100 m, thus excluding the Lesotho mountain regions. It is home to some of largest South-African urban agglomerations.
The Western Plateau
, part of the Australian Shield
, is an ancient craton
covering much of the continent's southwest, an area of some 700,000 square kilometres. It has an average elevation of between 305 and 460 m.
The North Island Volcanic Plateau
is an area of high land occupying much of the centre of the North Island
of New Zealand
, with volcanoes, lava plateaus, and crater lakes, the most notable of which is the country's largest lake, Lake Taupo
. The plateau stretches approximately 100 km east to west and 130 km north to south. The majority of the plateau is more than 600 m above sea level.
- Atherton Tableland
- Butte – Isolated hill with steep, often vertical sides and a small, relatively flat top
- Deosai National Park – National park in Pakistan
- Mesa – Elevated area of land with a flat top and sides that are usually steep cliffs
- Oceanic plateau – Relatively flat submarine region that rises well above the level of the ambient seabed
- Potrero – A long mesa that at one end slopes upward to higher terrain.
- Tuya – A flat-topped, steep-sided volcano formed when lava erupts through a thick glacier or ice sheet
- ^ "Definition of plateau". American English Dictionary. Merriam-Webster. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
- ^ "Definition of plateau". Cambridge English Dictionary. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
- ^ Garcia-Castellanos, D., 2007. The role of climate during high plateau formation. Insights from numerical experiments. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 257, 372-390, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2007.02.039 pdf
- ^ Leighty, Dr. Robert D. (2001). "Colorado Plateau Physiographic Province". Contract Report. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DOD) Information Sciences Office. Archived from the original on 2004-09-26. Retrieved 2007-12-25.
- ^ "The Road to the Stars". Retrieved 27 July 2015.
- ^ The Ibis. 1906. pp. 206–.
- ^ Maged S. A. Mikhail; Mark Moussa (2009). Christianity and Monasticism in Wadi Al-Natrun: Essays from the 2002 International Symposium of the Saint Mark Foundation and the Saint Shenouda the Archimandrite Coptic Society. American Univ in Cairo Press. pp. 63–. ISBN 978-977-416-260-2.
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Last edited on 7 May 2021, at 13:41
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