A plateau represents an elevated plain, located more than 500 m above sea level and which, due to its pronounced relief, is called a plateau. This type of geological formation originates in two ways: as a result of soil erosion, which acts by leaving the area isolated and elevated, or by tectonic forces. The plateaus are combinations between a plain and a mountain, which generally arise with the movement of tectonic plates, allowing the elevation of the surface and the change of relief.

what is plateau

It refers to an extension of land generally with a flat surface in its entirety, but that can present certain unevenness, which protrudes from the rest of the plain and to be considered as this it must be above 500 meters above sea level. sea. However, the term can also be used in other fields such as medicine, as is the case of the tibial plateau, referring to the fracture of the bone near the tibia.

From the etymological point of view, the word is formed by a noun and a suffix, the first is table, followed by the feminine ”eta” which serves as a diminutive, so it could be said that it refers to a small table in middle of the plains. These are distributed throughout the world and on all continents, but the plateaus of America with greater relevance are found in the Essequibo, Brazil, Peru, Bolivia and Mexico.

The plateaus of Mexico are known as plateaus and the most relevant located in this country is the Mesa del Centro or Central Table with an altitude of between 1700 and 2300 meters above sea level. In Venezuela they are known by the name of Tepuy.

Origin of the plateaus

Plateau - Rocky Plateau

There are two basic processes considered as the main ones in the formation of these, erosion and tectonic movements, in general the type of formation will depend directly on the location of the plateau.

In the case of the plateaus located on the terrestrial surface, their origin is considered to have occurred over the years through erosion, in theory they were previously mountains that over time were exposed to various forces and natural phenomena. they ended up with plateau relief, that is, becoming flat surfaces along their length.

On the other hand, those located in the deep sea owe their origin to the movements and forces of the tectonic plates that through existing cracks and volcanic eruptions cause areas of higher altitude than others, this type of process even helped to island formation.

Characteristics of the plateaus

In general terms, the plateaus correspond to terrestrial elevations that exceed around 500 meters above sea level, ending at the top as an extensive flat surface.

In the same way, they are characterized by presenting totally vertical sides in all their height extension, the climate will depend on the height and geographical location of these, but in general they are characterized by arid climates.

In terms of fauna, it is generally scarce in those of great height, however, in those of a jungle nature, animals can be found that are not observed in other areas of the zone, among which the gray fox, Argentine puma (plateau Patagonian eagle), Moray eagle, Patagonian basket, among others.

types of plateaus

Depending on their location, they can receive different names, and present some minor variations in relation to their general characteristics.

continental plateaus

They basically refer to those that develop abruptly and accidentally on plain surfaces or could even include those of oceanic origin in some cases.

intramountain plateaus

In this case, it is about those that are formed over the years in conjunction with mountains and that are finally surrounded by the latter in all their extension.

piedmont plateaus

Originating and geographically located between mountains and the sea, a clear example of this is the Patagonian plateau.

oceanic plateaus

They are formed by continental crust, but less dense due to the higher silicon level, they are submerged in the deep sea.

Examples of plateaus in the world

Among the highest plateaus on planet earth we find the following:

Frequently Asked Questions about Meseta

What is a children’s plateau?

For children, when making drawings of plateaus, for example, they represent them as mountains without a pointed end, instead they draw it flat.

What are the plateaus of the American continent?

The main ones are Mato Grosso, Bolivia, Patagonia, Central Mexico, in North America Alaska, Columbia and Utah.

How is a plateau created?

The origin can be through years exposed to erosion, or through tectonic and volcanic movements.

What is the highest plateau in the world?

What is the difference between plateau, mountain and plain?

Mountains are elevations of the earth’s surface of great height and form peaks on their tops, plains are flat surfaces in their entirety and plateaus are a combination of these, they are flat surface elevations.