Intermontane Plateaus: Meaning/Definition, Examples and Formation

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What are intermontane plateaus?

Intermontane plateaus are wide tablelands that are formed or situated between mountain ranges, when a plateau is surrounded by mountains on all sides, it is refers to an Intermontane plateau. Some examples of the Intermontane plateau include the Tibetan plateau, the Bolivian plateaus, and theWestern United States.

The Intermontane Plateaus of the Western United States is one of eight U.S. Physiographic regions of the physical geography of the contiguous United States. The region is made of intermontane plateaus and mountain ranges. It is subdivided into physiographic provinces, which each are further subdivided into physiographic sections.

Definition of intermontane plateaus

Intermontane plateaus are landforms thatare surrounded by mountain rims, these plateaus are enclosed by high mountain chains; they are the highest plateaus in the World.

Example of intermontane plateaus in India

The Tibetan Plateau is an example of the highest plateaus in India; the Tibetan plateau extends to an area of approximately 2,500,000km2(970,000sqmi), at about 5,000m (16,000ft) above sea level; it is located between theHimalayasand the Kunlun. This plateau is incredibly high enough to reverse theHadley cellconvection cycles and to drive themonsoonsofIndiatowards the south.

However, the second-highest plateau is the Deosai Plateau of theDeosai National Parkwhich is also known asDeoasai Plains; it is lifted to an average elevation of 4,114m (13,497ft). It is located in theAstoreandSkardudistricts ofGilgit-Baltistan in northernPakistan. (Deosai also means ‘the land of giants’).Other examples of intermontane plateaus in the world include the Iranian plateau- this plateau is located between the Zagros and Elburz mountain, Columbian Plateau- it is located on parts of Washington, Oregon and Idaho states of the U.S, the Anatolian plateau- which is located in between the Pontics and lastly, the Taurusmountain among others.

Tibetan Plateau is an example of intermontane plateau- It is located in South-Central Asia and it is the largest and highest plateau in the world
Tibetan Plateau is an example of intermontane plateau- It is located in South-Central Asia and it is the largest and highest plateau in the world

 

How are intermontane plateaus formed?

Generally, Plateaus are formed due to many weathering and erosional processes such as volcanic magma, extrusion of lava, running water and glaciers. Plateaus are formed when molten magma rises from the mantle towards the surface of the Earths crust; during the rising process, a large flat area of rock is uplifted to form a plateau. The magma does not break through but instead raises a section of the rock up as it rises to form a plateau.

However, Intermontane plateaus on the other hand are formed during mountain building movement, when Fold Mountains rise up due to the horizontal pressure on the layers of rocks, the lands in between the mountains are forced to lift up, thus the uplift of Fold Mountains often builds up the intermontane plateau in between their ranges.

Difference between intermontane plateau and volcanic plateau

Intermontane plateaus are those plateaus that are surrounded by hills and mountains from all sides, while the volcanic plateaus are formed as a result of the flow of the lava from the volcanoes, hence. Volcanic plateauis formed by repeated volcanic eruptions that slowly build up over time, forming a plateau from the resulting lava flows.The Deccan Plateau and the Ethiopian Plateau are the examples of the volacanic plateau.

Important Features of Intermountain Plateau

  • Many plateaus are composed of old, dense rock formations, iron ore and coal often are found in plateau outliers.
  • Intermontane plateau is a high land surface; the top of the surface are either uneven or wavy.
  • The combinations of geologic history and inspiring landscapes and important water and energy resources make the intermontane plateau an important tourist site for man to visit.
  • They are encircled with mountains

Also see importance of plateaus here.

Plateaus are generally surrounded by mountains, water bodies, waterfall and other geologic features
Plateaus are generally surrounded by mountains, water bodies, waterfall and other geologic features

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