Plateaus and plains are dominant natural landforms on earth. They are present on the earth for millions of years and have changed and evolved over time. They are important because they serve many purposes. Their formation is also an interesting topic to discuss. But since both of them appear flat at some point, how can you distinguish between the two? So, this article is here to tell you the difference between plateau and plain. You are also going to look at how plains and plateaus are formed. Read this interesting piece of information till the end to know about some unique facts.
1. How Plains and Plateaus are Formed?
Let’s discuss how plains and plateaus are formed.
- Plains are formed when bits of dirt, rocks, and other sediments are carried down hillsides by water to be deposited everywhere. When layer upon layer of these sediments is deposited, plains are formed.
- Plains can also be formed when rivers run through valleys and move side to side, gradually eroding the valley. This leads to the formation of plains.
- Plateaus are formed when magma, which is present deep inside the earth, pushes toward the surface but does not break through the crust. The magma lifts up the large, flat, impenetrable rock above it, leading to the formation of plateaus.
2. How is a Plain and a Plateau Similar?
The plains and plateaus are similar because both plains, as well as plateaus, are characterized as flat areas of land. Read the next pointer to know the difference between plateau and plain.
3. What is Difference Between Plateau and Plain?
Let’s look at the difference between plateau and plain. A plateau is an area that is significantly higher or elevated above the area around it whereas a plain is a flat, low-lying level terrain. A plateau is highly elevated above the neighboring areas but plains are not elevated. (See What is the Difference between a Mountain and a Plateau?)
4. Is a Plain Higher than a Plateau?
No, a plain is not higher than a plateau. Instead, a plateau is higher than a plain.
5. Why it is called Plateau?
It is called a plateau because it is a highly elevated landform. It rises sharply above the surrounding area on at least one side. They are also called high plains or tablelands due to their structure. (See What are Types of Landscape?)
6. Why Plateaus are Flat?
Although plateaus are flat, you know they are not alike plains because you have already looked upon the difference between plateau and plain. So, plateaus are flat because the magma pushes the entire rock from beneath the earth’s surface. When it fails to break through the surface, a plateau is created which is a relatively flat piece of rock. Another reason why plateaus are flat is because of erosion, which can alter the shape of the surface of the plateau making it flat.
7. Why are Plateaus Important?
Let’s look at some reasons why plateaus are important.
- Plateaus are important because they have rich deposits of minerals. Many of the mining areas in the world are located in plateau regions.
- The minerals found in plateaus act as raw materials for industries.
- The lava plateaus have rich deposits of black soil, which is extremely good for crop cultivation.
- Plateaus also have grasses. So, they act as grazing grounds for cattle.
8. Why are Plains Important?
Plains are important because of many reasons. Some of them are mentioned below.
- Plains have rich and fertile soils. So, they are ideal for plant growth.
- Since the level of the ground is flat and low-lying, the mechanization and production of crops become easy.
- Plains have grasslands that support the grazing of cattle.
- Plains provide a good communication route for roads and railways.
- They also allow the setting up of industries.
- Plains have rivers flowing from them, which provide easy access to water.
9. How High is a Plain?
Plains are not more than 200 meters above the mean sea level. So, they are a relatively low-lying natural landform. Read the next pointer to know whether plains have hills or not.
10. Can Plains have Hills?
Yes, plains can have hills. Low hills can be a common appearance in plains. (Also read How to Describe the Geographic Diversity of India?)