Plateau and plain

Difference between Plateau and Plain
Difference between Plateau and Plain

The Difference between Plateau and Plain is given here. A plateau is an extensive plateau located at a certain altitude above sea level while a plain is an extension of flat land or with slight undulations, they are usually found in lowlands at 200 meters or less above sea level. They can also be found on plateaus.

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A plateau is an extensive plateau that is located at an altitude above 500 meters above sea level (masl) and has been caused by tectonic forces, by the erosion of the surrounding terrain, or because of an underwater plateau has emerged. They are also generated when tectonic plates converge.

Tectonic forces can produce the uplift of strata that remain horizontal with respect to the environment. In the case of erosion, this occurs when rivers erode the part of the surface that is less resistant creating a plateau and in the case of submarine plateaus, these emerge because of a volcanic plateau.

Depending on the region, accidents can be found in the relief and they are called in various ways:

  • Altiplano: It is a plateau that is located between two or more mountain ranges.
  • Butte: It is an isolated hill with steep slopes and a flat top.
  • Chapada: It is a raised rock formation with a very flat portion at the top.


It is a large expanse of flat land that can be found below 200 meters above sea level, at the bottom of valleys or on plateaus. In valleys, they may be bounded by a ring of cliffs, hills, or mountains. Its formation may be due to lava, ice, or water that was flowing or by wind erosion.

The plains are important to humans. Due to the deposited sediments, they become fertile places for the development of crops. Its plain facilitates the mechanization of crops.

Types of plains:

  • Abyssal plain.
  • Lava plain.
  • Glacial plain of till.
  • Large plains.
  • Depositional plains: floodplain, floodplain, coastal plain, and tidal plain.
  • Erosional plains.
  • Structural plains.
  • Glacial plains.
  • Sandur.

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Difference between Plateau and Plain

  • The plateaus have an altitude higher than 500 meters and have suffered from very intense erosive processes. The removed material is deposited in lower layers, in plains and depressions.
  • The plains have a lower altitude and the sediment deposition processes are more intense than those of erosion.

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