Distinguish between Plateaus and Plains

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

The difference between Plateaus and Plains is that Plateaus refers to the raised flat ground, whereas plains are large, level terrain areas. Plateau is a flat-topped tabletop that is elevated above its surroundings. Plains do not rise above the average sea level by more than 200 meters. The earth’s surface is uneven; it could be smooth in some places and rough in others.

Difference between Plateaus and Plains

The variety of landforms in the world is immense. Plateaus and Plain’s difference is that the former is elevated ground while the latter is a low-level topography. Landforms can be categorized into the following groups according to their elevation and slope Mountain chains, Plateaus, and Plains.

Plateaus vs Plains – Differences and Examples

The table below explains the basic difference between Plateaus and Plains, along with relevant examples.

Plateaus Plains
Plateau describes the elevated, level ground. A Plain is a low-lying, level terrain.
A plateau is a flat area significantly elevated above the terrain around it. They make up one of the planet’s major landforms and more than one-third of its surface.
High plains, tablelands, or mountains with a flat top are also referred to as plateaus. Plateaus have flat tops. Low-lying areas, valley bottoms, and plateau summits are all possible locations for plains.
Various occurrences can form a plateau, such as when a sizeable portion of the earth is pushed upward by volcanic eruptions or when the summits of mountains are eroded by erosion. They don’t rise above the average sea level by more than 200 meters.
Examples: The Deccan plateau in India is one of the oldest plateaus. Western Plateau of Australia, East African Plateau in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. The highest plateau in the world is Tibet. Examples: The largest river-created plains are found in Asia and North America. Large plains in Asia are created by the Ganga, Brahmaputra, and Yangtze rivers in China and India, respectively. Great Plains in North America, the Tabasco Plain in Mexico, and the Sichuan Plains in China.


Distinguish between Plateaus and Plains

Based on the height and slope, landforms can be classified as Mountain ranges, Plateaus, and Plains. The major difference between Plains and Plateaus is as follows.

  • The raised flat ground is referred to as a Plateau. It is a tabletop with a flat top that is elevated above its surroundings.
  • In India, there are seven plateaus.
  • The plains are large, flat areas of land.
  • The northern plain is India’s largest plain.

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