Plateaux | Types, Tectonic, Volcanic or Lava, Dissected, Importance & Disadvantages

Plateaux, elevated uplands characterized by extensive flat or level surfaces that typically descend sharply to the surrounding lowlands, exhibit a gentle slope. Due to their flat or level characteristics, they are commonly referred to as tablelands. Plateaus are tabular in shape, featuring steep sides with a rough and irregular surface, narrow valleys, and are occasionally […]

Plateaux, elevated uplands characterized by extensive flat or level surfaces that typically descend sharply to the surrounding lowlands, exhibit a gentle slope. Due to their flat or level characteristics, they are commonly referred to as tablelands. Plateaus are tabular in shape, featuring steep sides with a rough and irregular surface, narrow valleys, and are occasionally utilized as hydrological centers. Mesas and buttes may also be found in these regions.

 

The majority of Plateaux are remnants of ancient mountain ranges.

Types of Plateau:

(1) Tectonic Plateau

(2) Volcanic Plateau

(3) Dissected Plateau

 

(a) Tectonic Plateaux:

Formation: These plateaux result from earth movements that uplift certain areas and depress others. The uplifted areas of level or undulating land form tectonic plateaux, while the depressed areas form basins.

 

There are two types of tectonic plateaux: Table Land and Intermont. Examples include the Deccan Plateau (India), Harz (Germany), and Mesetal (Liberia). Intermont is formed when uplifted areas are enclosed by fold mountains, as seen in the Tibetan plateau between the Himalayas and Kunlun, and the Bolivia plateau.

 

(b) Volcanic or Lava Plateau:

Formation: These plateaux form when molten lava emerges from the earth’s crust through a vent and spreads out in successive layers. The cooled and solidified lava forms volcanic or lava plateaux. Examples include the Antrim Plateau of Northern Ireland and the Columbia Snake Plateau.

 

(c) Dissected Plateau:

Formation: These plateaux are shaped by weathering and denudation agents, such as running water, wind, and ice, which wear down large and extensive plateaux into remnants with irregular surfaces called dissected plateaux. They may also form due to uplift. Examples include the Jos Plateau (Nigeria), edges of the Fouta Djallon Plateau (Guinea), and Kumasi Plateau (Ghana).

 

Importance or Uses of Plateau:

  1. Some plateaux are sources of valuable minerals like tin, gold, and diamonds.
  2. Certain plateaux serve as tourist attractions.
  3. Plateaux are sources of rivers.
  4. Plateaux with cold climates, like the Jos Plateau, encourage human settlement.
  5. Due to their cold climate and fertility, most plateaux support specialized farming, cultivating specific crops.
  6. Plateaux also support the growth of pasture grasses and legumes, facilitating animal rearing such as cattle, sheep, and goats.

 

Disadvantages of Plateaux:

  1. Some plateaux act as barriers to communication, hindering the construction of roads, railways, and airports.
  2. Erosion associated with certain plateaux can impede or prevent serious farming activities.

Related Posts:

Mountains

Major Landforms Of The World

Geographic Information System (GIS)

Rocks Of The Earth

Internal Structure Of The Earth

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