Major Plateau of the World

Following is the comprehensive list of major plateaus of the world.

Tibetan Plateau

  • It is the highest and largest plateau in the world formed due to collision of the Indo-Australian and Eurasian tectonic plates. It is known as the ‘roof of the world’.
  • It harbors the world’s two highest summits, Mount Everest and K2.
  • It reverses the Hadley cell convection cycles and drives the monsoon towards the south.
  • It covers most of the Autonomous Tibetan Region, Qinghai Province of Western China, and a part of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • It is surrounded by mountains by the Himalayan Range in the south, the Kunlun Range in the northeast, and the Karakoram Range in the west.
  • It is widely known as the Third Pole because its ice fields contain the largest reserve of fresh water outside the polar regions.

Columbia Plateau

  • It is located in the U.S. states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia.
  • River Columbia and its tributary Snake meet in the plateau.
  • Its highest point is Indian Rock.
  • It is bordered by the Cascade Range and Rocky Mountains and divided by the Columbia river.
  • It has been formed as the result of volcanic eruptions with a consequent coating of basalt lava (Flood Basalt Plateau) during the late Miocene and early Pliocene.

Colorado Plateau

  • It is an intermontane plateau.
  • It is the largest plateau in USA which is located in the western part.
  • It is divided by the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon.
  • It is bounded by the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and by the Uinta Mountains and Wasatch Mountains branches of the Rockies in northern and central Utah.
  • The rocks of the Colorado Plateau are a source of oil and a major source of petroleum, coal and uranium.

Deccan Plateau

  • It is a large plateau which forms most of the southern part of India.
  • It is located between two mountain ranges, the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats.
  • It is separated from the Gangetic plain to the north by the Satpura and Vindhya Ranges, which form its northern boundary.
  • Its northwestern part is made up of lava flows or igneous rocks known as the Deccan Traps. The rocks are spread over the whole of Maharashtra and parts of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, thereby making it one of the largest volcanic provinces in the world.
  • The Deccan is rich in minerals. Primary mineral ores found in this region are mica and iron ore in the Chotanagpur region, and diamonds, gold and other metals in the Golconda region.

Kimberley Plateau

  • It is located in the northern part of Australia.
  • It was one of the earliest settled parts of Australia.
  • The region was named after John Wodehouse, 1st Earl of Kimberley who served as Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1870 to 1874 and 1880 to 1882.
  • It is rich in minerals like iron, gold, lead, zinc, silver and diamond.
  • Diamond is found in diamond bearing rock, Kimberlite.

Katanga Plateau

  • It is located in Katanga province of Democratic republic of the Congo.
  • It is rich in copper and uranium deposits.
  • Other minerals like Cobalt, Uranium, Zinc, Silver, Gold and Tin are also mined here.

Mascarene Plateau

  • It is a submarine plateau in the Indian Ocean, north and east of Madagascar.
  • It extends between the Seychelles and Mauritius Islands.
  • It is the second largest undersea plateau in the Indian Ocean after the Kerguelen Plateau.
  • It was formed of granite, and is a fragment of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana.

Laurentian Plateau(Canadian Shield)

  • It lies in the eastern part of Canada. It stretches north from the Great Lakes to the Arctic Ocean, covering over half of Canada.
  • It contains the Mackenzie dike swarm, which is the largest dike swarm known on Earth.
  • It is one of the world’s richest areas in terms of mineral ores. It is filled with substantial deposits of nickel, gold, silver, and copper.

Mexican Plateau

  • It is a large arid-to-semi-arid plateau that occupies much of northern and central Mexico.
  • It is known as ‘Mineral Store’. It is famous for World’s biggest silver mine i.e. Chihuahua.
  • It is rich in silver and copper deposits.

Patagonian Plateau

  • It is a Piedmont plateau lying in southern part of Argentina.
  • It is a rain shadow desert plateau.
  • It is an important region for sheep rearing.

Altiplano Plateau(Bolivian Plateau)

  • It is an intermontane plateau which is located between two ranges of Andes Mountain.
  • It is a major area of Tin reserves.

Massif Central

  • This plateau lies in the middle of the southern France.
  • Its highest peak is Puy de Sancy(6188 ft).
  • It is famous for Grapes cultivation.

Anatolian Plateau

  • It is a central upland region of Turkey, also known as Asia Minor. Most of Turkey lies on this plateau.
  • It is an intermontane plateau lying between Pontiac and Taurus Mountain ranges.
  • Tigris – Euphrates Rivers flow through the plateau.
  • It is famous for precious wool producing Angora goats.

Iberian Plateau(Spain Plateau)

  • It was formed by the volcanic eruption and lava.
  • One of the best quality iron is found in this region.

Loess Plateau

  • It is also known as the ‘Huangtu Plateau’.
  • It is located around the Wei River valley and the southern half of the Ordos Loop of the Yellow River in central China.
  • It is famous for highly friable ‘Loess’ soil that has been deposited by wind storms over the ages.

Pothohar Plateau(Potwar Plateau)

  • It is located in north-eastern Pakistan, forming the northern part of Punjab.
  • It is bounded on the east by the Jhelum River, on the west by the Indus River, on the north by the Kala Chitta Range and the Margalla Hills, and on the south by the Salt Range.

Tepui Plateau

  • It is a table-top mountain or mesa found in the Guiana Highlands of South America, especially in Venezuela and western Guyana.
  • Tepui means “house of the gods” in the native tongue of the Pemon, the indigenous people.
  • Auyantepui is the source of Angel Falls, the world’s tallest waterfall.

Kerguelen Plateau

  • It is an oceanic plateau and a large igneous province (LIP) in the southern Indian Ocean.
  • It is located in southwest of Australia.
  • It is also a microcontinent and submerged continent.