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Difference between Mountain and Plateau

The gifts of nature have always been a prized possession for us. We visit such places whenever we get time. But apart from loving these places, we are the ones who have immensely exploited these places. People nowadays visit valleys, mountains, plateaus, etc. Mountains and Plateaus are the ones that are visited the most. But what are these mountains and plateaus? Let us take a look at the basic definition of the terms along with their differences.


Mountains are defined as the natural elevations that appear from the earth's surface. In layman's language, a large slope is called a mountain. There are four major types of mountains, namely volcanic mountain, fold mountain, dome mountain, and fault-block mountain. Mountains are found in the northern regions of India, especially in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

Difference between Mountain and Plateau


On the other hand, plateaus are defined as the elevated and flat surface. Plateaus are found in every continent, and they cover one-third of the earth's surface. There are four significant kinds of plateaus, namely the Deccan plateau, tectonic plateau, volcanic plateau, and dissected plateau. Plateau is also known as a tableland, i.e., it has a flat surface. Now, what are the major points of contrast between mountains and plateau? Both mountains and plateaus are categorized based on slope, elevation, and size. So, let us see some differences between the two.

1. Mountains are defined as the elevations that have appeared from the earth's surface. On the other hand, plateaus are defined as a flat surface. Plateau is also called as a tableland.
2. Mountains are formed because of the movements in the tectonic plate. Due to this geographical activity, several variations are formed in the mountains like folding, volcanic activities, etc. Plateaus are formed due to an upsurge in volcanic activities, erosion in waters, glaciers, etc.
3. Mountains are cone-shaped. Plateaus are table-shaped.
4. Mountains have a good elevation and are naturally formed. Plateaus can be either elevated or short.
5. In mountain regions, the climate becomes colder as one moves in an upward direction. On the other hand, the weather in plateaus is dry.
6. The mountain ranges have clean, fresh, and distilled water that is good for health. Plateaus are full of essential elements like minerals.
7. Due to the cold weather conditions, only a few people live there. Otherwise, it is a place where people go on vacations. Plateaus have a moderate climate, so many people have settled around the plateaus. It is also interesting to note that irrigation is much easier in the plateau regions.
8. Mountains are very difficult to climb. People visit them for trekking, hiking, and other purposes. Plateaus have scenic beauty, and they are visited by people.
9. The oldest mountain range in the world is Barberton Greenstone Belt. This mountain range is situated in Africa. The oldest plateau is the Deccan Plateau, located in India.
10. The highest mountain range is the Himalayas. Out of these mountain ranges, Mount Everest is the highest mountain peak in the world. On the other hand, the Tibet Plateau is the highest plateau in the world. The height of the Tibet Plateau is 4,000 to 6,000 metres.

So, these are the major differences between a mountain and a plateau. The most common and basic point of contrast between a mountain and a plateau is its shape. For instance, mountains have a cone-like shape, while a plateau has a table-like shape. Some of the well-known mountains are:

  • Mount Everest (India)
  • Mount K2 (Pakistan)
  • Mount Fuji (Japan)
  • Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)
  • Mount Lhotse (Nepal)

Some well-known plateaus are:

  • Island in the Sky (USA)
  • Tibetan Plateau (Tibet)
  • Tibetan Plateau (Tibet)
  • Bogota Plateau (Columbia)
  • Table Mountain (South Africa)

So, these are the famous mountain ranges and plateaus in the world. Well, there are different types of mountains and plateaus in the world. Let us take a look at them.

Types of Mountains

  1. Volcanic Mountains: Volcanic Mountains are formed due to the movements in the tectonic plates. These movements can either form the mountains or erupt them completely. Examples of volcanic mountains include Mount Hood, Mount Shasta, Vitosha, etc. These mountains are formed due to volcanic eruptions.
  2. Fold Mountains Fold Mountains are defined as the mountains wherein the plates move into one another and collide. Due to this, the fold mountains are created. Examples of fold mountains include Balkan Mountains, Zagros Mountains, etc.
  3. Block Mountains: When the blocks in the mountains (formed due to movement in tectonic plates) rise or tilt, the block mountains are formed. Fault blocks in the mountains are also called crustal blocks. Examples of block mountains include Sierra Nevada Range, Massif, Rila Mountain, etc.
  4. Residual Mountains: The mountains formed due to erosion of an elevated surface are called residual mountains. Examples of residual mountains include Aravalli Range, Nilgiri Mountains, Eastern, and the Western Ghats, etc.

Types of Plateaus

  1. Border Plateaus: Border Plateaus are defined as plateaus having the same elevation as the mountains. These kinds of plateaus are located around the mountains. Examples of border plateaus include Piedmont Plateaus, Plateau of Colorado, etc.
  2. Domed Plateaus: Border Plateaus are defined as plateaus having the same elevation as the mountains. These kinds of plateaus are located around the mountains. Examples of border plateaus include Piedmont Plateaus, Plateau of Colorado, etc.
  3. Volcanic Plateaus: The plateaus formed due to several volcanic eruptions are called volcanic plateaus. These plateaus are built by the lava.
  4. Erosion Plateaus: The plateaus formed in the semi-arid regions are called erosion plateaus. These plateaus are separated by the rivers.

So, these are some of the major kinds of mountains and plateaus. Mountains and plateaus are essential parts of nature that differ in various aspects.

The difference between them is mentioned above. Most commonly, they differ in shape. Along with that, they also have some distinctive features as well. Thus, mountains and plateaus are the gifts of nature that must be cherished and taken care of.

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