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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In geology and earth science, a plateau, also called a high plain or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain. A highly eroded plateau is called a dissected plateau. A volcanic plateau is a plateau produced by volcanic activity.

Plateaus can be formed by a number of processes, including, upwelling of magma, extrusion of lava, and erosion by water and glaciers. Magma rises from the mantle causing the ground to swell upward, in this way large, flat areas of rock are uplifted. Plateaus can also be built up by lava spreading outwards from cracks and weak areas in the crust, an example of such a plateau is the Columbia Plateau in the northwestern US. Plateaus can also be formed due to the erosional processes of glaciers on mountain ranges, in this case the plateaus are left sitting between the mountain ranges. Water can also erode mountains and other landforms down into plateaus.

Plateaus are classified according to their surrounding environment, common categories are: intermontane, piedmont, and continental plateaus.

  • Intermontane plateaus are the highest in the world, these plateaus are bordered by mountains. The Tibetan plateau is one such plateau.
  • Piedmont plateaus are bordered on one side by mountains and on the other by a plain or sea.
  • Continental plateaus are bordered on all sides by the plains or seas, form away from mountains.

The largest and highest plateau in the world is the Tibetan Plateau, called the "roof of the world", which is still being formed by the collisions of the Indo-Australian and Eurasian tectonic plates. In all the Tibetan plateau covers an area of some 2.5 million square kilometres which is approximately 5000m above sea level. The height of this plateau is such that it is enough to reverse the Hadley convection cycles and drive the monsoons of India to the south.

Bogotá, Colombia is located in a high plateau, over 8,600 ft (2,600 m) high

In North America the largest plateau is the Colorado Plateau covering an area of 337,000 km² (130,000 mi²).[1]

See also

References

  1. ^ Leighty, Dr. Robert D. (2001). "Colorado Plateau Physiographic Province". Contract Report. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DOD) Information Sciences Office. http://www.tec.army.mil/publications/ifsar/lafinal08_01/five/5.1.5_frame.htm. 
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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also plateau

German

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Plateau

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Noun

Plateau n. (genitive Plateaus, plural Plateaus)

  1. plateau

Synonyms

  • (geography): Hochebene, Hochfläche

Simple English

A plateau is an area of raised land that is flat on top. The biggest, tallest plateau in the world is the Tibetan Plateau. A plateau with a lot of erosion is called a dissected plateau. A plateau that is also a volcano is called a volcanic plateau. Some plateaus are under the ocean, like the Seychelles plateau or the Ontong Java Plateau. Plateaus are often by themselves with no other plateaus around, sometimes standing on top of mountains.


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