A plateau is a flat and elevated land. A plateau is at higher elevation than the surrounding areas. A plateau may have one or more sides with steep slopes. A plateau can be young or old. The height of plateau can be from a few hundred meters to several thousand meters.
Examples: The Deccan Plateau (India) is one of the oldest plateaus in the world. Other examples of plateau are; the East African Plateau in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and the Western Plateau in Australia. The Tibet plateau is the highest plateau in the world and its elevation is between 4,000 to 6,000 m above sea level.
Importance of Plateau
- Plateaus are rich in mineral deposits. Many mining belts in the world are located in the plateau areas.
- Most of the mining areas in India are in the Chhotanagpur Plateau in Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh.
- The African plateau is famous for mines of gold and diamond.
- Many waterfalls are present in plateau areas. For example; the Hundru falls in the Chhotanagpur and Jog falls in Karnataka.
- The lava plateaus are rich in black soil. Black soil is fertile and is good for cultivation.
- Plateau areas are great tourist attractions because of lot of scenic spots.
Plains are flat lands and are generally not more than 200 m above mean sea level. Some plains are extremely level, while others may be slightly rolling and undulating.
Formation of Plains
Plains are usually formed by rivers and their tributaries. When a river flows down a mountain, it erodes the mountain. The river carries forward the eroded material. Then the river deposits the load in its valley. The load consists of stones, sand and silt. Plains are formed from these deposits.
Importance of Plains
- Plains are usually highly fertile and hence most ideal for cultivation.
- It is very easy to make transport network in the plains.
- Due to above mentioned factors; plains are the best areas for human habitation.
- Most of the densely populated areas of the world are in the plains.
- The Indo-Gangetic Plains in India is among the most densely populated regions of the world.
Landforms and the People
- Humans have been living in most of the terrains.
- Life is difficult in mountain areas because of rugged terrain. Hence, mountain areas are sparsely populated.
- Life is somewhat easier in the plateaus; compared to in mountains.
- Life is the easiest in the plains.
- In all types of terrains, natural calamities always pose threat. Earthquakes, storms and floods can hit any area. Volcanic eruption can be potential risk in areas near volcanic activity.
- But people need to learn to live with natural disasters. Proper precautions can help save life and property; in case of natural disasters.