A plateau is an elevated land with a flat top, bound by steep slopes on one or more sides. A plateau is also called a tableland. Plateaus cover about 45% of the earth’s surface.
Examples of plateaus are:
- The Deccan Plateau in India,
- The East African Plateau in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda,
- The Western Plateau in Australia and
- The Tibet Plateau in East Asia
The Deccan Plateau of India is one of the oldest plateaus on the earth’s surface. The Tibet Plateau, is the youngest, highest and largest plateau in the world. Plateaus are formed by lava, rivers or wind.
Lava erupting from cracks on the earth’s surface spreads in the surrounding areas, then cools down, and eventually forms plateaus. Plateaus formed by lava are called lava plateaus.
As rivers flow down the slopes of high mountains, they carry stones and sand with the water. This results in the erosion of the mountains and formation of table lands or plateaus. Plateaus are created when winds wear away the side of an uplifted region and carry the debris to far-off places.
Plateaus are rich in mineral deposits, such as gold and iron. Waterfalls are fairly common in plateau regions. This is because there are often spots where river water falls from great heights. These waterfalls have added to the tourist attractions of these areas.
Lava plateaus have a high percentage of productive black soil containing calcium and magnesium carbonates. Crops like maize, cotton, ragi and chilli grow well in the black soil of plateau regions. The Deccan Plateau, which is a lava plateau, has an extensive deposit of black soil.
Tourists are attracted to plateaus for the beautiful scenery, flora and fauna.