Beep, beep! When Wile E. Coyote chases the Road Runner, he often runs off of the flat top of a cliff very high above the ground. In other words, he runs off of a plateau! A plateau (pronounced plah-toe) is an area of flat ground that is much higher than the surrounding area. Often, it also has one or more sides that are super steep. Plateaus are important because they are rich in minerals, making them good for mining and farming.
How are Plateaus Formed?
By the Surrounding Environment
By the Formation Process
- Dissected plateaus are the result of colliding tectonic plates that push Earth’s crust upward. One example is the Colorado Plateau, which has risen about a centimeter per year for more than 10 million years.
Volcanic plateaus form because of many small volcanic eruptions. The lava from the eruptions builds up to create a plateau, such as the North Island Volcanic plateau in New Zealand.
Other Great Resources
Difference between Plains and Plateaus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wt8qgoHo6b8
NatGeo Plateau Facts: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/earth/surface-of-the-earth/plateaus/