Plateau Landforms


Plateau Landforms Have 2 Main Characteristics:

  1. An elevated portion of land
  2. Generally flat and level

Example of a Plateau Landform:
Colorado Plateau, southwestern USA
The plateau picture above is of a mountain plateau.

What is a Plateau Landform?

A plateau is a portion of land that is more or less flat and level, elevated above the surrounding area. It may have steep slopes or vertical cliffs on one or more sides.

How are Plateaus Formed?

Plateaus can be formed by the erosion of surrounding areas by rivers, flooding and glacier activity. An uplift of land can occur from the pressure of a large magma chamber under layers of rock. Repeated lava flows can also form a plateau over a period of time. The collision of tectonic plates of the Earth’s crust can elevate a portion of land to create a plateau.

How Large is a Plateau?

A plateau can cover a few square miles, or extend over an area of thousands of square miles.

Where Can a Plateau Be Found?

Plateaus can be found in some desert areas. The largest plateaus are found near mountainous regions.

Famous Plateaus and Facts

• Auyantepui, Venezuela
• Columbian Plateau, northwestern USA
• Colorado Plateau, southwestern USA
• Deoasai Plains, Deosai National Park, Pakistan
• Tibetan Plateau, central Asia

Auyantepui is a tabletop mountain, a plateau in Venezuela with a summit covering 257 square miles. Some areas of the plateau are inclined, reaching from 5,200 to over 8,000 feet. Auyantepui is the source for Angel Falls, the tallest waterfall in the world at 3,212 feet above its base.

The Columbian Plateau covers portions of Washington, Oregon and Idaho in the Pacific Northwest of the US. With a total of 63,000 square miles, it was formed by many basaltic lava flows on the land over millions of years. The Colorado Plateau includes parts of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah.

It is the largest plateau in the US, covering approximately 130,000 square miles. It was created by a gradual uplift of the land, while the Colorado River cut through the land to form many canyons below. The Deoasai Plains in northern Pakistan is the second highest plateau in the world.

As part of the Deosai National Park, it has an average height of 13,497 ft and covers 1,200 square miles. The Tibetan Plateau is the highest plateau in the world, averaging almost 15,000 feet, and the largest to be found on any continent. It covers an area of almost one million square miles in central Asia, with the Himalayas in a curve along the southern edge and the Kunlun Mountains to the north.

The plateau is still being formed by tectonic pressure as the Indo-Australian continental plate collides against the Eurasian plate. The plateau is almost entirely within the Tibetan province of China, with a small portion belonging to India.

Plateau definition:

An area that is raised above other surrounding lands and is generally flat and level.

See plateau’s in the ocean here: Oceanic Plateau

Submit Your Own Landforms

We want pictures and location of the lanforms around the world and we need your help. Click get started button below.


Today's Featured Picture

The Albers projection is a conic, equal area map projection, named after Heinrich C.

Landform Blog

Mayon Volcano

Mayon Volcano

  Mayon Volcano is one of the active volcanoes in the Philippines.  Located in the southern part of Luzon about 473 kilometers (294 miles) from Makati Business District of the Philippines, Mount Mayon is the main landmark of the Province of Albay of Bicol Region. According to local folklore, the volcano was named after Daragang […]

How Landforms Affect Global Temperature and Weather

How Landforms Affect Global Temperature and Weather.

The global temperature and weather is to a large extent a direct result of the sun’s effect to our planet.  Together with the atmosphere and the rotation of the earth on its axis.  The earth on which weather moves on has its own effect on the weather.  The different landforms like mountains, volcanoes, plains, and the […]


Alashan Plateau

Salty spring-fed lakes, towering sand dunes, and the ghosts of an ancient walled city.


Call of the Abyss

An intrepid team of explorers broke the depth record in Krubera—the world’s deepest cave.