What are the major types of plateaus?

By Ritesh|Updated : September 6th, 2022

A plateau is an elevated section of relatively flat land, usually bounded on at least one side by a steep slope dropping abruptly to a lowland.

  • The Tibetan Plateau, which occurs as an intermontane plateau, may also be bordered in some places by steep slopes rising to remaining mountains or mountain ranges.
  • The phrase is also used to describe a structural surface, a tectonic plate like the Meseta in Spain.
  • The topography of a plateau can be plain, extremely flat, undulating, hilly, or so fragmented by streams and glaciers that it is difficult to tell what a plateau once looked like.

3 Major Types of Plateaus and their Examples

Based on their geographical location and rock structure, plateaus can be classified as

Intermontane Plateaus:

  • Intermontane plateaus border a folded mountain range or are entirely contained by it.
  • Example: Folded mountains like the Himalayas, Karakoram, Kunlun, and Tien Shah encircle Tibet on two sides.

Piedmont Plateaus:

  • These are plateaus at the foot of mountains, surrounded on all other sides by plains or the ocean.
  • Examples include the Appalachian Plateau in the United States, located between the Appalachian Mountains and the Atlantic Coastal Plain, and the Malwa Plateau in India.

Continental Platforms:

  • These are produced by substantial continental uplift or by the considerable spreading of the horizontal basal lava sheets, which entirely engulf the previous terrain.
  • Examples include the Snake River Plateau in the northwest and the volcanic lava-covered plateaus of Maharashtra in India.


What are the major types of plateaus?

There are 3 major types of plateaus - Intermontane Plateaus, Piedmont Plateaus, and Continental Platforms. These can be categorized into the following categories according to their location and rock composition.


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