Major Plateaus of the World

A plateau is an elevated flatland that rises sharply above the surrounding areas. It is a geological formation that is characterized by its flat top and steep sides. Major plateaus of the world are located on every continent, and they cover vast areas of land.

These plateaus are often home to unique ecosystems, diverse cultures, and important geological formations. In this topic, we will explore some of the major plateaus of the world and their significant features.

List of Major Plateaus of the World

Here’s the list of major plateaus of the world and their description in brief −

Tibetan Plateau

  • The Tibetan Plateau, which is also referred to as the "Roof of the World," is the highest plateau on Earth, with an average elevation of more than 4,500 meters.

  • It covers parts of China, India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Pakistan over an area of over 2.5 million square kilometres.

  • The Himalayas, Karakoram, and Kunlun Mountains, three of the tallest mountain ranges in the world, all encircle the plateau.

  • The Brahmaputra, Yangtze, and Yellow Rivers are only a few of the major Asian rivers that have their origins in the plateau.

  • Significant mineral deposits, such as those for copper, lead, zinc, and gold, can be found in the Tibetan Plateau.

Deccan Plateau

  • A sizable plateau in southern India, the Deccan Plateau has an area of roughly 500,000 square kilometres.

  • Eastern Ghats in the east, Western Ghats in the west, and Satpura Range in the north define its borders.

  • Some of the principal rivers that rise from the plateau include the Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri.

  • Rich mineral reserves on the plateau, such as those containing coal, iron ore, and manganese, are well-known.

Patagonian Plateau

  • South of Argentina and Chile is the Patagonian Plateau, which covers over 260,000 square miles.

  • Low-lying hills, basalt plateaus, and broad valleys are features of the plateau, which is mostly composed of volcanic rocks.

  • Along with the Andean condor, it is home to unusual fauna including guanacos, rheas, and Patagonian foxes.

  • Rich oil, gas, and coal reserves are also found on the plateau, and as a result, the area has experienced tremendous industrial growth.

Brazilian Highlands

  • Southeast Brazil is home to the Brazilian Highlands, which span a region of around 1.9 million km2.

  • The Pico da Bandeira, which rises to a height of 2,891 meters (9,485 feet) above sea level, is the tallest mountain in the Brazilian Highlands.

  • The vast valleys, sharply cut plateaus, and flat-topped mountains that make up the Brazilian Highlands are distinctive features.

  • Bauxite, iron ore, and other minerals are commonly found on the highlands.

  • Numerous endangered species, like as jaguars, giant otters, and harpy eagles, are also found in the highlands.

Mexican Plateau

  • The vast plateau region known as the Mexican Plateau, or Mexican Altiplano, is situated in central Mexico.

  • Approximately, 570,000 square km make up the plateau.

  • It is typically located at an altitude of 1,825 meters above sea level.

  • The Sierra Madre Occidental and the Sierra Madre Oriental are two of the mountain ranges that encircle the area.

  • Numerous significant cities, including Mexico City, one of the largest metropolitan regions in the world, are located on the Mexican Plateau.

Columbia Plateau

  • In the Pacific Northwest of the United States, there is a sizable basalt plateau known as the Columbia Plateau.

  • Approximately 200,000 square kilometres make up the plateau.

  • Several lava flows that happened between 17 and 14 million years ago contributed to its formation.

  • The deep Columbia River Gorge was formed as a result of the Columbia River's course across the plateau.

  • A variety of flora and animals, including numerous types of wildflowers, birds, and mammals, live in a distinctive ecosystem on the plateau.

  • The Grand Coulee and Palouse Falls are only two of the significant geological features that can be found on the plateau.

Colorado Plateau

  • The huge plateau known as the Colorado Plateau is located in the southwest of the country and is distinguished by its distinctive geological formations and environments.

  • It is located in the Four Corners region of the United States and has an area of approximately 337,000 square kilometres.

  • There are multiple national parks there, including the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce Canyon National Parks.

  • Over millions of years, the Colorado River and its tributaries sculpted the deep canyons and gorges of the plateau.

  • The region is a significant source of energy for the United States because it is also rich in uranium, coal, and oil.

  • The Navajo, Hopi, and Ute are just a few of the Native American groups that call the Colorado Plateau home.

Altiplano Plateau

  • The Andes Mountains of South America contain the high plateau known as the Altiplano Plateau.

  • The nations of Bolivia, Chile, and Peru are where it is located.

  • The Altiplano Plateau is located at a height of around 3,750 meters (12,300 ft).

  • It has several active and dormant volcanoes, and the Andes Mountains peaks surround it.

  • Numerous sizable lakes can be found on the plateau, including Lake Titicaca, the world's highest navigable lake.

  • A key agricultural region, the Altiplano Plateau produces crops including quinoa and potatoes.

  • Minerals including gold, silver, and copper are also extensively mined there.

Adamawa Plateau

  • The Adamawa Plateau is a highland region located in West Africa, covering parts of Cameroon, Nigeria, and Chad.

  • The average elevation of this plateau is roughly 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) above sea level.

  • It occupies an area of roughly 25,000 square miles or 64,000 square kilometres.

  • Between the Chad Basin to the east and the Niger River Basin to the west is where you'll find the Adamawa Plateau.

  • A significant agricultural region, the Adamawa Plateau produces yams, sorghum, and millet.

  • Iron ore, bauxite, and uranium are just a few of the abundant mineral resources found on the plateau.

Ethiopian Plateau

  • East Africa is home to the Ethiopian Plateau, which spans a region of around 250,000 square kilometres.

  • It has an average elevation of 2,500 meters above sea level and is the greatest continuous area of this elevation in Africa.

  • The Ethiopian wolf and the Gelada baboon are only two examples of the unusual flora and fauna that may be found there.

  • The Blue Nile and the Awash River are only two of the significant rivers that originate in the plateau.

  • For thousands of years, the Ethiopian Plateau has been a significant agricultural area, producing products including coffee, teff, and wheat.

  • Due to its distinctive biodiversity and breath-taking landscape, the Simien Mountains National Park in the Ethiopian Plateau has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Top 10 Plateaus of the World

The given table illustrates Major Plateaus of the World along with their location, extent, major hills and rivers found there −



Extent (km²)

Major Rivers

Hills and Mountains


Tibetan Plateau

Tibet, China


Yangtze, Yellow River

Kunlun Mountains

Gold, copper, lead, zinc

Deccan Plateau



Godavari, Krishna

Eastern Ghats

Coal, iron ore, manganese

Patagonian Plateau

Argentina, Chile


Santa Cruz, Colorado

Andes Mountains

Petroleum, natural gas

Brazilian Highlands



São Francisco, Paraná

Serra do Mar, Serra da Mantiqueira

Gold, iron, manganese

Mexican Plateau



Lerma, Nazas

Sierra Madre

Silver, copper, lead, zinc

Columbia Plateau

United States


Columbia, Snake

Rocky Mountains

Basalt, sand, gravel

Colorado Plateau

United States


Colorado, Green

Rocky Mountains

Uranium, coal, copper, oil

Altiplano Plateau

Bolivia, Peru


Lake Titicaca

Andes Mountains

Copper, gold, silver, tin

Adamawa Plateau

Nigeria, Cameroon


Benue, Gongola

Gotel Mountains

Tin, limestone

Ethiopian Plateau

Ethiopia, Eritrea


Blue Nile, Awash

Ethiopian Highlands

Salt, gold, potash


There are many huge plateaus, which are vast flat regions of land that rise above their surroundings, on every continent in the world. They are significant geographical features that have a big impact on the culture, landscape, and climate of the areas in which they are found. They frequently have abundant mineral resources, diverse wildlife, and distinctive ecologies.

The 10 plateaus that will be examined in this context are some of the biggest and most important plateaus on earth, and each has unique qualities and importance. They provide an enthralling look at the intricate geological and environmental factors that have moulded our planet over millions of years.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a plateau?

A plateau is an elevated flatland, a large area of highland with an extensive flat top and one or more sides that slope steeply downwards.

What is the name of largest plateau in the world?

The largest plateau in the world is the Tibetan Plateau in Central Asia.

Which are the major plateaus of South America?

The major plateaus of South America are the Patagonian Plateau, the Brazilian Highlands, and the Altiplano Plateau.

What is the geological importance of plateaus?

Plateaus are important in geology because they are often created by tectonic uplift, which can result in the exposure of underlying geological formations and the formation of mineral deposits.

What is the climate like on plateaus?

The climate on plateaus can vary depending on their elevation and location, but they are generally cooler and drier than surrounding lowlands due to their higher altitude.

What are some famous rivers that flow through plateaus?

Some famous rivers that flow through plateaus include the Brahmaputra River in the Tibetan Plateau, the Colorado River in the Colorado Plateau, and the Nile River in the Ethiopian Plateau

Updated on: 08-Nov-2023


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