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World Geography / Topography

Types of Plateaus in the World


    There are generally 4 types of plateaus in the world namely, Piedmont plateaus, Volcanic plateaus, Intermontane plateaus and Continental plateaus. A Plateau is an elevated flat-topped table land that generally has at least on one side, a steep slope descending abruptly onto a lower land.



    The importance of plateaus is immense because they are generally very rich in mineral deposits. Because of rich mineral deposits, many mining centres around the world are located near the plateau regions. Similarly, waterfalls are formed when rivers fall down at the edge of the plateaus. These waterfalls attract tourists and at the same time they can be used for generating electricity if a hydroelectric power station is set up.

    Types of Plateaus

    The four different types of plateaus are explained below

    Piedmont Plateau

    Piedmont plateaus are located at the foot of a mountain range. The other side of the plateau may have a sea or a plain. In Piedmont plateaus case, the areas were once located at higher ranges and now they are cut down by different agents of erosion.

    The best example of Piedmont plateau is the Plateau of Piedmont itself, located at the foot of the Appalachian Mountains in USA. It is on its name, these plateaus are classified.

    Other examples of such plateaus are Malwa Plateau on the foot of the Vindhya mountains, Deccan Plateau on the foot of the Sahyadri ranges, Patagonia Plateau on the foot of the Andes mountains, etc.

    Volcanic Plateau

    Volcanoes create several forms of plateaus ranging from smaller to larger plateaus. A volcanic plateau is created by the lava of volcanic eruptions that accumulate slowly over a period of time.

    The soils of volcanic plateaus are very fertile when compared to other kinds of plateaus and hence we can find more agricultural activity here.

    The best example of Volcanic plateau is Deccan Traps in India. Other examples are Columbia Plateau of US, North Island Volcanic Plateau of New Zealand, etc.

    Intermontane Plateau

    A plateau that is surrounded by hills and mountains is called Intermontane plateau. These are generally the highest and largest plateaus in the world. The orogenic process of the earth raise these landforms to a higher elevated locations way above the sea level.

    The examples of intermontane plateau are Tibetan Plateau, Mexican Plateau, etc.

    Continental Plateau

    Unlike other plateaus which are located near to the mountains, Continental plateaus are surrounded on all the sides by either the plains or the seas.

    Since all the sides of these types of plateaus are low lying areas, there will be continuous erosion of these plateau surface because of which agricultural development is very slow in these plateaus.

    Examples of such plateaus are Chota Nagpur Plateau, Bundelkhand Plateau, etc.