What is the Highest Plateau in the World?

By Devyani Singh|Updated : July 7th, 2022

The highest plateau in the world is the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau. Known as the Himalayan Plateau in India, it spans over most of Central, South, and East Asia. It stretches over the Tibet Autonomous Region, multiple provinces in Western China (Qinghai, Yunnan, Sichuan, Gansu), India (Ladakh and Lahaul and Spiti) along with Pakistan, northern Nepal, Bhutan, eastern Tajikistan, and southern Kyrgyzstan.

It looms over China at an average elevation of 4500m from the sea level and is often called the ‘roof of the world’ 

Which is the Highest Plateau in the World?

The Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau is the highest plateau in the world with an average elevation that exceeds 4500m (from the sea level). It is surrounded by the Himalayan range and its imposing mountain peaks that are home to the two highest summits in the world: Mount Everest and K2, making the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau "the Roof of the World".

This plateau is also the drainage basin of a lot of streams and rivers in the surrounding areas. These include the three longest rivers of Asia, namely the Yellow River, the Yangtze River, and the Mekong River. The plateau is a ‘water tower’, owing to it paying homage to thousands of glaciers. 

Sometimes called the Third Pole’, its ice fields house the largest amount of fresh water (excluding the polar regions). Its several features make it an important ecological site and the impact of climate change on it has recently sparked scientific research and curiosity. 

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FAQs about the Highest Plateau in the World?

  • The Qinghai-Tibetan plateau is located in the Southern part of China. It also covers multiple countries like India, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Nepal and Bhutan 

  • The Yellow River (Ma Chu in Tibet and Huang He in China) finds its origin in the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau and flows through China. The river is known as the 'Cradle of Chinese Civilisation'.

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