A plateau is a broad and more or less level stretch of upland that rises sharply above the neighbouring lowland. It is also called a tableland.

   The Tibet Plateau is the highest in the world. It is, therefore, called 'the Roof of the World'.

Types of Platean
    Plateaus can be classified  as (i) Intermontane (ii) Continental and (iii) Lava plateaus.
    Intermontane plateaus are partly or completely enclosed by mountains. The plateau of Tibet is the highest intermontane plateau in the world. Other examples are the Mexican plateau, the Columbia plateau in North America and the plateau of Bolivia in the        Andes.
    Continental plateaus are extensive plateaus that rise abruptly from the coastal areas. The plateau region of South Africa and the Indian Peninsula are example of this kind.
    Lava plateaus are formed by lava that comes out from fissures and get deposited over extensive area for millions of years. The Deccan Plateau of India, and the Columbia Plateau in USA are examples of this type.

How Plateaus are useful
    The plateau regions are very rich in minerals. The African plateau areas are famous for gold and diamond mines. The Chhota Nagpur plateau in India has vast resources of iron, coal and manganese. Lava plateaus have fertile soil and are used for farming.        The Deccan plateau has black soil which is good for cotton cultivation. The grasslands covering some plateau are extensively used for livestock rearing.